Tips for Physical Training

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Re: Tips for Physical Training

Post by timisimaginary »

Conor wrote: Tue Jan 11, 2022 2:07 pm
timisimaginary wrote: Tue Jan 11, 2022 1:15 pm agree with justin, any kind of cardio training is going to improve your cardio fitness. the body produces the same aerobic adaptations no matter what activity you use to get your heart rate up.
Swimming will not give you the same "adaptations" as running will. It's a common misnomer that aerobic is "working out the heart" and it's all the same. not sure if that is where you are going...

but if that is the road you were going down, it's just not true. aerobic adaptations have to do with fat storage, the changing of specific muscle fibers in specific muscles, and the growth of capillaries within those muscles, etc. Less so on the body's ability to deliver blood and oxygen (heart a lungs) to that area. There was a similar discussion back in 2017 if you have 3 minutes to read through it...

I also disagree if one feels "sore," the answer is weight training. A lot of times the answer is, more aerobic work. if one is to put a single litmus test to this complex issue, I would say if the fatigue is a "bonk" or not would be a better guide.

So, the issue always boils down a good (something is better than nothing, ahem...crossfitters), better (some specificity, but not a targeted focus on aerobic work, typically the "running is boring" crowd) and best (get the "bible," TFTNA). The crux of this discussion is a well below average American not even on a "good" workout plan can do a 14er, if not all of the 14ers (or at least the more physically demanding). The arguments become, "look at me."
maybe "sore" isn't the best word, but the general point is, it shouldn't be hard to tell the difference between whether it's your muscular strength giving out vs. your aerobic capability. i can tell the difference between activities where my muscles are giving in before i hit my aerobic limitations, and vice versa. you can use that information to decide where your training time is better spent. it only becomes complicated when both areas give out about the same time.

i think i made the point that some specificity will certainly help, but that doesn't mean it's useless to do non-specific training, or that other forms of cardio won't yield improvements, though they may be slower or more limited in their results. hiking is obviously the best training for hiking, but if like me, you live several hours from any meaningful mountains, that's not an option, certainly not on a daily basis. the closer your activity is, the more efficient your training will be, so stair-climbing or using a stepmill would be the next best thing, followed by an incline treadmill, followed by something like running, then on to things like cycling or swimming. everyone's situation is different, and if you don't have easy access to mountains and the closest thing you can do to train is running, then running is still going to help you. and if you hate running, but love cycling, cycling will help you too... maybe not as much as running, but it will certainly help you more if you do more of it and don't end up quitting because you're doing something you enjoy rather than something you hate. most people are going to spend more time in training than the actual goal race/climb/event/etc itself, so why not make the actual training as enjoyable as possible, rather than trying to eke out every little tiny growth advantage while being miserable in the process?

on a personal note, several years ago i used to have terrible shin splints from running, even though i enjoyed running, i couldn't do it nearly as much as i wanted. so i started doing triathlons, which meant adding swim and bike training. and a funny thing happened, once i got in a regular routine of swimming, i saw big improvements in my running fitness. i could run faster at lower heart rates than i was ever able to do before, despite not doing more (actually doing less) actual running. eventually i moved on from triathlons (because as good as it was for my fitness, i absolutely hate swim training with a vengeance) and started doing more hiking. and then i saw another big jump in my running fitness, this time because i was "training" for several hours at very low intensity, building up my aerobic base in ways i wasn't able to previously due to my running injuries. now, if my body was capable of handling the same volume of training doing only pure running, maybe my running fitness would have gone even higher, faster and sooner. but my body couldn't handle it at the time, and those other, non-running activities were the best option available for me. and my fitness improved as a result, eventually to the point where now i CAN run at the volume and frequency to improve faster while avoiding the kinds of injuries that forced me to stop running in the past.
"The decay and disintegration of this culture is astonishingly amusing if you're emotionally detached from it." - George Carlin
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Re: Tips for Physical Training

Post by justiner »

Yeah, Tim's point of keeping things under your aerobic threshold is key. If you're hiking (say), you wanna be able to somewhat keep a convo, even if your speech isn't exactly smooth. If it's too hard to breath, add more weight to your pack, or find a steeper hill, etc.

Ian Sharman, a trailrunning coach, does champion using weighted vests for himself as well as clients who are training for power hiking they'll be doing in ultramarathons. These are for clients that do not have hills available to them - so adding weight is sort of the next best thing.

Just be careful if you do go for the hypergravity approach - try to keep things aerobic. The advice is specific: these are people who already have running fitness, that are looking for power hiking fitness when not carrying an appreciable weight during a race.

I'm not real big into weighted carries on flat ground, since I feel I get more benefit from just running on flat ground (the few times I do that a year...), but there are some who prefer rucking, which I think is fine, so long as you keep things aerobic for the most part. Me, I want to work on my running when I run.

I am producing a pretty long video on fastpacking fitness for hilly terrain - it may have some overlap on this - but just like Ian's clients, it'll be for people who already have aerobic fitness, that then want to carry a load on hilly ground as fast as they can for long periods of time (days).
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Re: Tips for Physical Training

Post by nyker »

To the OP, as you stated, acclimatization is key, you can have all the fitness you can get but if you're not used to altitude, it just won't work out or you may feel real ill; I've had days when I hadn't been up high for a year and it took me several days to feel semi-normal at 8,000ft much less exerting myself above 12k with a pack. Despite the craze for 100%^ HIIT all the time, long and slow is the way to go to build that mountain endurance like Justiner mentions at/under your aerobic threshold. An hour or so, 3-4x a week will get you there if you are consistent and are disciplined about HR zones maybe add a day if you are well rested. Supplement that with leg strengthening exercises/stretching and you'll be in good shape to get up a 14er. If you have access to longer trails on hills for 1-2 days a week even better. I'm assuming you have a job and/or family and can't spend half your life in the gym/outside or get to a mountain every weekend. If you are reasonably aerobically fit, determined and smart about it, the average 14er is not that tough.
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Re: Tips for Physical Training

Post by Omatt89 »

nyker wrote: Wed Jun 15, 2022 3:20 pm determined and smart about it, the average 14er is not that tough.
So what your saying is , they are tough. Just not that tough, To the 100 percent of all people who are super prepared and physically fit.
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