Fitness for mountains when you live at sea level - thoughts?

LaSportsman

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This is an offshoot from a comment on @devon deer 's thread on park runs and @dirtclod Az. 's reply on running not helping. Didn't want to hijack the original thread.

Not looking for an argument - just looking for opinions and successes on training at sea level for a backcountry elk hunt. I think if folks post general fitness level, age, and specs on training it will help.

@dirtclod Az. commented, "
Running doesn't make you "hunt Fit".
Only hiking with wieght at elevation can do that.
--The Voice of Experience--
Running is good for cardiovascular ...and tearing up
your knees.Once again--The Voice of Experience-- 😎"

My question would be how much of a running base? how many miles per week? speed work? hills?

I'm not arguing that hiking with weight at elevation isn't best but it isn't practical more than a couple times total between hunting seasons.

I turn 49 soon. I've run regularly since I was 16 except for college (lazy) and a couple years nursing an injury. Never been a high miles guy but I can run 3 miles in around 25 minutes. 1.5 mile time is low 11's if pushing hard (Navy fitness test).

I've never been good at weight training and my body responds much better to running than lifting but I've been lifting a fair amount the last few years and have stepped it up.

Just listened to the Elk Talk podcast on "Fitter is funner when elk hunting." I like Corey's comment that getting heart rate up in cycles of recovery is an option. Both hill training and speed work do that.

Current plan is two days of lifting (large muscle groups - presses, squats, deadlifts, etc.), one day of speed work for 3 miles, one day of hill training for 3 miles, and will add a day of hiking with weight. Have southern AZ summer to deal with but definitely adds to endurance for running. Not a treadmill guy unless deployed and force to on a ship.
 

MTGomer

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I think you have a solid plan. If you can escape to Mt Graham or the SF Peaks for a weekend before your hunt that’s a good idea. I think really pushing yourself even one time hard before a hunt does a lot to alleviate the horrible soreness the second time around.
That helped me last year after moving here. I walked from the Inner basin to the summit of Humphrey with 40 pounds and back down.
If you can do that you can definitely hunt elk.
 

SG25

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Im a big fan of a bike seeing as how it’s better on the knees for me. I even bike the PRT since I’m used to it. I ride mine at least 10-20 miles every day on top of go on hikes with a full pack throughout the week. I mean it sounds like you have a solid plan so try it for a little and see if you notice a difference.
 

LaSportsman

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I would bike 25-30 miles on Saturdays at my last duty station but haven't found a great safe option here. Still have my bike. Never trusted myself on bike for PRT and it's a different bike than I'm used to so I just run.

Running hasn't ever bothered my knees except the one time I trained for a marathon. My lower back and the weight of a full pack is my biggest concern.
 

LaSportsman

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I think you have a solid plan. If you can escape to Mt Graham or the SF Peaks for a weekend before your hunt that’s a good idea. I think really pushing yourself even one time hard before a hunt does a lot to alleviate the horrible soreness the second time around.
That helped me last year after moving here. I walked from the Inner basin to the summit of Humphrey with 40 pounds and back down.
If you can do that you can definitely hunt elk.
I could catch either of those on a four day weekend. Should be doable once before the hunt. Not enough time off otherwise and still have time for multiple hunts this fall.
 

dirtclod Az.

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I think you have a solid plan. If you can escape to Mt Graham or the SF Peaks for a weekend before your hunt that’s a good idea. I think really pushing yourself even one time hard before a hunt does a lot to alleviate the horrible soreness the second time around.
That helped me last year after moving here. I walked from the Inner basin to the summit of Humphrey with 40 pounds and back down.
If you can do that you can definitely hunt elk.

But was your body ready to do Humphrey the next day,
and the day after that.Not me,and that is what Elk hunting
feels like to me.God forbid you have to pack out an elk
on day three. Lol!! 😎
 

LaSportsman

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But was your body ready to do Humphrey the next day,
and the day after that.Not me,and that is what Elk hunting
feels like to me.God forbid you have to pack out an elk
on day three. Lol!! 😎
I don’t doubt that! It’s the day after day, especially as we age.

I’ve avoided leg day in the past. Working in lots of squats to simulate uphill. I do have a local hike with decent elevation change, just not altitude to to train in lower O2.
 

LaSportsman

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But was your body ready to do Humphrey the next day,
and the day after that.Not me,and that is what Elk hunting
feels like to me.God forbid you have to pack out an elk
on day three. Lol!! 😎
Do you mind saying what your run plan was that year?
 

dirtclod Az.

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I stated ,I don't run.I blew my knee out conditioning for'a hunt.I hike at elevation with a wieghted pack.
It took me 2yrs to recover so I could hunt again.Not that I didn't hunt for two years.
I made sure I was at 100% before going extreme again. 😎
 

LaSportsman

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I meant when you did run and the conditioning didn’t work “voice of experience” - or did I misunderstand you on that?
 

dirtclod Az.

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It's not the conditioning doesn't help it's the elevation... and the damage to your knees.
(Nothing that I know of) can beat conditioning at elevation. 😎
 

brymoore

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My Idaho perspective and a life long fitness nut, is that running is good cardio to get in shape but weighted squats and biking make better hill climbers.
 

neffa3

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I keep it pretty simple. One weighted hike in an evening for a hour or so after work (80 lbs), then one long hike on the weekends, sometimes with a little weight sometimes not. Then the rest of the time simple isometrics, pushups, situps, etc. in the evening if I find time. But my most important part is STRETCHING, STRETCHING, STRETCHING.
 

Rzrbck918

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Cardio is a hugely beneficial part of any preparation IMO. Cardio work speeds recovery which marks an overall level of stamina and fitness. There is no way to prepare for elevation without elevation but judging by my experiences opposed to the guys I hunt with, the ability to recover quickly is a tremendous benefit. I run an average of 20 miles per week. I also do some hiking with a weighted pack. Seems to work for me. I'm 42 6' 175 and my backcountry hunting occurs at 9400' give or take.
 

npaden

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It's not the conditioning doesn't help it's the elevation... and the damage to your knees.
You'll shoot your eye out with a bb gun also.

Running doesn't blow out your knees. If you ask an orthopedic surgeon what kind of people they are seeing come through, the majority are actually going to be mostly sedentary obese individuals. There will be some athletes, especially those that have contact and quick turns, but the knee replacements are mostly on people that are overweight. There are occasionally people that have a bad knee that is aggravated by running but it really isn't the norm. There are lots of people with huge lifetime running miles (as in 100,000+ miles logged in their lifetime) that have perfectly fine knees.

Since I got serious about being in shape for hunting in 2011, I've logged over 13,000 miles with over 2,000 miles a couple years. If you throw out 2011 which was the first year I started running, I've averaged 1,771 miles a year for the last 7 years. My best running streak was 123 straight days and 971 miles for an average of 7.9 miles per day over that period.

I'm not some superman. On the running forum that I post on, I would barely be considered a serious runner. Lots of those folks are routinely hitting 70 to 100 miles a week and 3,000+ miles a year. I've seen a few logging 4,000+ miles a year. These guys aren't blowing out their knees.

Running has be a transforming experience for me on my hunting. I am able to recover quickly and hit it hard day after day when I am in the mountains. Instead of getting to the top of a mountain and wanting to drop and not go any further, I find myself thinking about dropping down into the valley and up to the next ridge over to see what is over there. I end up having to slow down and wait on people much younger than me. For a flatlander I personally think that running is about the best thing you can do to prepare yourself for elevation. You truly are physiologically changing your ability to process oxygen more efficiently and effectively all the way down to delivering red blood cells to the muscles. There is a lot of science behind it that I really don't understand but it works. I know beyond a doubt that I am in better shape for tackling a mountain hunt now at age 51 than I was at age 41, probably even in my mid 30's.

Okay, that's my novel. Take it for what it's worth. Nathan
 

Heyjbales

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Man, I just finished the Mtn Tough Postseason plan and I have never been in as good of shape as I am now. I just checked in and am right under 10% body fat after being at 14-16% in February. I lost 6 lbs without really changing my diet, just working harder.

I used to just run a couple of times a week and lift like Arnold in the gym, which really didn't give me great results. I probably should have gone harder on running like Npaden above, but nonetheless, I found I was gaining weight and increasing my body fat % and not really improving my mountain shape though I felt like I was doing stuff. I might only be 23 years old, but I drive a desk for a living and have a super slow metabolism. I was a puffy 188 in October 2017 and just weighed in at 168.6 two days ago. I'm only 5'6" short. lol.

I would look at picking up the intensity with some HIIT style workouts if you can't afford their program, though I highly recommend it if you can because it gives you day by day workouts and instructions on the movements.

Their free weighted backpack workout and 22's workouts are both free and a good primer to what to expect in the program and can totally be modified to accommodate whatever your gym situation is that you have going on.


 

Bigjay73

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You'll shoot your eye out with a bb gun also.

Running doesn't blow out your knees. If you ask an orthopedic surgeon what kind of people they are seeing come through, the majority are actually going to be mostly sedentary obese individuals. There will be some athletes, especially those that have contact and quick turns, but the knee replacements are mostly on people that are overweight. There are occasionally people that have a bad knee that is aggravated by running but it really isn't the norm. There are lots of people with huge lifetime running miles (as in 100,000+ miles logged in their lifetime) that have perfectly fine knees.

Since I got serious about being in shape for hunting in 2011, I've logged over 13,000 miles with over 2,000 miles a couple years. If you throw out 2011 which was the first year I started running, I've averaged 1,771 miles a year for the last 7 years. My best running streak was 123 straight days and 971 miles for an average of 7.9 miles per day over that period.

I'm not some superman. On the running forum that I post on, I would barely be considered a serious runner. Lots of those folks are routinely hitting 70 to 100 miles a week and 3,000+ miles a year. I've seen a few logging 4,000+ miles a year. These guys aren't blowing out their knees.

Running has be a transforming experience for me on my hunting. I am able to recover quickly and hit it hard day after day when I am in the mountains. Instead of getting to the top of a mountain and wanting to drop and not go any further, I find myself thinking about dropping down into the valley and up to the next ridge over to see what is over there. I end up having to slow down and wait on people much younger than me. For a flatlander I personally think that running is about the best thing you can do to prepare yourself for elevation. You truly are physiologically changing your ability to process oxygen more efficiently and effectively all the way down to delivering red blood cells to the muscles. There is a lot of science behind it that I really don't understand but it works. I know beyond a doubt that I am in better shape for tackling a mountain hunt now at age 51 than I was at age 41, probably even in my mid 30's.

Okay, that's my novel. Take it for what it's worth. Nathan
Funny, my ortho tells me he sees mostly active people. My knees are shot, ran for many years. And I highly suggest people think twice before training with packs heavier than 40 or 50 lbs. Look up the amount of force your knees take with every step while running or carrying heavy weight. Knees dont regenerate.
 

JLS

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Man, I just finished the Mtn Tough Postseason plan and I have never been in as good of shape as I am now. I just checked in and am right under 10% body fat after being at 14-16% in February. I lost 6 lbs without really changing my diet, just working harder.

I used to just run a couple of times a week and lift like Arnold in the gym, which really didn't give me great results. I probably should have gone harder on running like Npaden above, but nonetheless, I found I was gaining weight and increasing my body fat % and not really improving my mountain shape though I felt like I was doing stuff. I might only be 23 years old, but I drive a desk for a living and have a super slow metabolism. I was a puffy 188 in October 2017 and just weighed in at 168.6 two days ago. I'm only 5'6" short. lol.

I would look at picking up the intensity with some HIIT style workouts if you can't afford their program, though I highly recommend it if you can because it gives you day by day workouts and instructions on the movements.

Their free weighted backpack workout and 22's workouts are both free and a good primer to what to expect in the program and can totally be modified to accommodate whatever your gym situation is that you have going on.


That 22 workout is a bitch.
 
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