Category: Training

My own training programs or reports

Stair Climbing for Mountaineering Fitness

Stair Climbing for Mountaineering Fitness – the Video

Stair Climbing is a great way to train for mountaineering fitness if you don’t have access to an incline treadmill or Stairmaster Stepmill. If you are creative in locating a set of steps you can try stair climbing as your own way to get in your vertical feet per week goals as spelled out in my “Mountaineering Fitness: Beginner Training Manual” available soon in Paperback and Amazon Kindle. PROGRAM HERE

Stair climbing also has the added benefit of providing negative, or eccentric contractions just like in a real hiking environment. Stepmills and treadmills do not help train your muscles that provide balance, stabilization and deceleration for your downhill hiking. Stair climbing does since you have to go down any staircase you go up. You would be hard pressed to find a stairway over a hundred feet high, so getting in a thousand feet of vertical will require that you do laps when stair climbing.

You will also need to allow for the downward steps when calculating your time. I have found for myself that I go about twice as fast on the way down. In the video I did a test with a stopwatch to find that I was doing a little under :30 (thirty seconds) per lap. With 54 laps required that comes out to around 25 minutes of stair climbing to get in my target vertical.

A few things to be aware of though for stair climbing:

  1. Be sure to be very careful and under control on the way down
  2. Keep your back in a good neutral arch which can be more difficult on the way up
  3. If you’re on slippery wet stairs be a lot more careful, or on metal stairs with some shoes
  4. Use the handrail if needed until you get your balance and strength up to par

From my Youtube Channel: 

In the Mountaineering Fitness: Beginner Training Manual I go into great depth on training on stairs to get in your weekly vertical. I explain the math used to calculate your weekly vertical goals and how to use warm-up and cool-down walking to get in your weekly mileage goals.

In this case there are 21 steps 8″ average height for a total of 54 laps required to get in the target 750′ of vertical (based on 3,000′ of weekly vertical and 4 training sessions). I measured 24 seconds on an average lap without really rushing it, so expect the entire workout to take about 25 minutes on the stairs.

Production Note: For this video my microphone picked up all the noises from a road a few hundred yards away and a crow that was annoyed by my presence on his stairs. Unfortunately the noise reduction was minimally effective. Normally I would do ADR recording but I wasn’t on my studio PC, so I apologize for those few things that were more difficult to understand.

Stair Climbing for Mountaineering Fitness early morning training session
Stair Climbing for Mountaineering Fitness early morning training session

Steady State Cardio

I was reading this article HERE on T-Nation “The Death of Steady State Cardio” by Rachel Cosgrove. A very long time ago, when I was an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer I attended a trainer workshop in Las Vegas that featured a session with Alwyn Cosgrove, Rachel’s husband. I don’t remember if she was there or not now. It was a very long time ago and I was very busy taking notes from Alwyn’s presentation on client mobility assessments.

AF Canyon Half Marathon in Utah
AF Canyon Half Marathon in Utah

Anyway, like most of these “Steady State Cardio” articles it tries to convince us that HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is the ultimate and thus only option for training of any type including long distance events, like the Half Marathon. I’ve commented a few times, and shared articles and links to articles about these training protocols. For one thing, a Half Marathon is a relatively short distance, and isn’t a good example of endurance training protocols. I think anyone who has got one under their belts would be able to keep training for them with less than 5 hours a week of running training.

Did you see my article “The One Exercise You Must Never Do…

My own interpretation of this kind of slamming of “Steady State Cardio” is that we’re having a difference of opinion in what that term means. Assuming you slog along at some pace for a few hours and that’s what they mean by steady state cardio, then how about slogging along for a few hours at a 6:00 pace. That’s a six minute mile pace. It’s about a 2:38 marathon or two hours and thirty eight minute marathon. Not too shabby, but not a record either. So let’s do a few hours at 6:00 and get fat, as the articles all stipulate. To be honest with you I cannot run at that pace for more than a hundred (100) yards at a time. So I can’t offer an opinion on how that feels afterward. I cannot do that as steady state cardio.

Treadmill Running at 100% HR Max (220 - AGE formula)
Treadmill Running at 100% HR Max (220 – AGE formula)

Fine then, let’s interpret this from the perspective of Heart Rate. Find your Max Heart Rate, and let’s just do the simple version (220 – AGE). That’s your Maximum Heart Rate (estimated). Let’s do a two hour slog at 100%. That’s steady state, right? Just adjust the speed up and down as needed to stay at that 100% for a couple hours. My graph above shows me doing just that for a little over an hour. It’s not very easy. If you don’t believe me get your cardiologists okay and go for it. Go ahead, then comment below about how fat you feel having done that. Suunto says I’ll have a metabolic effect for 46 hours afterward. That’s a lot of fat burning BTW.

HIIT - heavy weights in the gym with little rest
HIIT – heavy weights in the gym with little rest

As a contrast, here’s my weight session with a 5 hour metabolic effect. Sweet. This is mostly supersets of squats and chinups with very little rest followed by shoulder presses and lat pulldowns. It was a great workout and I really burned the fat. 5 hours worth. Yeah. To be honest that is about 1/9 the effect of my 100% Heart Rate treadmill running workout. But I do weights because I enjoy them and they provide the support my endurance endeavors require. Running uphill requires strong legs. Climbing requires strong shoulders and back.

Steady State Cardio Roots

I think the root of the problem is that some warped peer-reviewed study of people who don’t work out found out that their fuel source wobbling along at a 60% Heart Rate was primarily fat. With fat as a fuel source you could potentially stay on the treadmill all day long burning fat at the “Steady State Cardio” rate of 60% Heart Rate ((220 – AGE) X .6). For me that’s 100 BPM (Beats Per Minute). That would totally suck to be on a treadmill at that speed for any more than a warm-up.

Anaerobic Threshold Training setup with Suunto Ambit 2S on the handle of the treadmill
Anaerobic Threshold Training setup with Suunto Ambit 2S on the handle of the treadmill

One major issue with this is that as we train, our bodies adapt and it’s harder to actually accomplish anything at that heart rate. If we were to wander around on a treadmill at that Heart Rate for a couple hours we’d just be hungry and thirsty and achieve nothing for our health. These articles are correct about that, so long as they’re actually talking about this version of “Steady State Cardio” and not the previous two examples I shared.

This brings us around to the Elephant in the Room. Specificity. Steve House pointed out in his Alpine Training seminar that you have only so much time at 80% and greater Heart Rate, so your approach, maybe two hours, across steep rough terrain, carrying a 40 pound backpack, has to be done at less than that to conserve energy for the climb. You need to train walking 6 miles or so at various inclinations, carrying a 40 pound backpack, while keeping your Heart Rate around 70%. This is a sports specific training objective.

 50 pound backpack on a Jacob's Ladder is Steady State Cardio
50 pound backpack on a Jacob’s Ladder is Steady State Cardio

If you analyze your sport of choice for the requirements, you will get a much better perspective on what is actually required in your training. If you’re wanting to ride a century, you’ll need to get into the groove of spending 5 or more hours in the saddle at a time. You don’t do that tossing kettlebells across the room and returning in a bear crawl dragging chains.

On the flip side, various studies have shown that there is some limited endurance effect to a HIIT protocol. Hence the Crossfitters tossing out stuff like

“you won’t be able to do a marathon, but you can have a fast 5k”

This has given rise to the whole “close enough” or “good enough” protocols like Tabata. I have experimented with Tabata, and a strict Tabata protocol is very difficult to do. I think a lot of the Tabata articles are kind of like taking Yoga at the gym from a facilitator that took a weekend workshop. I also have my doubts that anyone is going to win a SkiMo race after spending a year training for 16 minutes a week.

“Great. But I am doing a marathon” you might say.

Aspen Backcountry Marathon Finish
Aspen Backcountry Marathon Finish

Some hype is being generated about various HIIT style marathon training, but so far no one (as of this writing that I am aware of) has come off the couch and finished a marathon with a good time using this methodology. All of the hype is based on majorly injured previous winners going on to good times using HIIT style training. They already have the gas in the tank so to speak from the long hours of endurance training they used to do and the HIIT training is just keeping the muscle fibers warm and ripe.

If you have read my previous article about Anaerobic Threshold Training HERE you’d see how I feel this is a great alternative to the classic maligned “Steady State Cardio” though in this style of training you’re riding a very fine line, a steady line, of your Heart Rate Target Goal. In my mind though that makes it a Steady State, though a very high state. It’s just a play on words. I wish that instead of ripping on “Steady State Cardio” they’d rip on Low HR Cardio.

It’s not Steady State Cardio that’s the problem, it’s the Low HR Cardio!

Marketing your HIIT programs though is a bit easier to do when you take advantage of how much people dislike wandering around on a treadmill for a couple hours at 60% Heart Rate. I hate doing that and I actually don’t mind being on a treadmill for two hours or so at a time.

Anaerobic Threshold Training

What is Anaerobic Threshold Training?

From a paper at Rice University:
The AT varies from person to person, and, within a given individual, sport to sport. Untrained individuals have a low AT (approximately 55 % of VO2 max), and elite endurance athletes, a high AT (approx. 80 – 90% of VO2 max). You can train your body to remove lactate better and to juice up the aerobic mitochondrial enzymes, thus raising the AT.

There is some controversy involved, and in fact some scientists believe that there is no actual biological effect in anaerobic threshold training. Despite that elite athletes continue to train rigorously to increase their heart rate and the amount of time they can tolerate being on the edge of failure. This is also called Lactate Threshold, or the exertion level at which your body switches between the aerobic and anaerobic energy production systems. As a generality the aerobic system is good for hours and hours of effort. The anaerobic system is only good for a short period of time, possibly only minutes, depending on the biology and genetics of the athlete.

Anaerobic Threshold Training setup with Suunto Ambit 2S on the handle of the treadmill
Anaerobic Threshold Training setup with Suunto Ambit 2S on the handle of the treadmill

There are some tests to determine your heart rate at your Lactate Threshold, but I haven’t had one. I plan to this spring season so I’ll update this and more when I get there. From other common calculations my standard Max Heart Rate is 166 (220 – 54). I’m going to use 166 BPM as my estimated Lactate Threshold then. This is greatly flawed by the way. Don’t do this. I know for a fact I can spend a few minutes at 180+ BPM. I can spend about 30 minutes at 170+ BPM. I eagerly await that test. For your own purposes get the test. Some college sports clinics offer them for less than $150. If you’re a student even less. If you want to proceed anyway and hope for the best, be dang sure you have an awesome aerobic base first.

A session of Anaerobic Threshold Training:

My goal for this session is to spend about 30 minutes on a treadmill keeping my heart rate hovering around 146 to 149 BPM. That’s about 90% of my calculated MAX Heart Rate and 90% of my Estimated Lactate Threshold. Keep in mind that either number you go with is fairly severe for the average athlete. Not that I’m being all superior or anything, but I don’t want to get any messages or comments about strokes and heart attacks. If you can’t do a half hour at 75% or 85% you sure don’t want to try to go at 90% for any length of time.

I’m going to use a treadmill because it’s really easy to adjust the pace as needed to ride that fine line of Lactate Threshold. I used the Suunto Ambit2 S HR Watch which I received from an Instagram contest entry last Spring. I’ve grown to like it and have been using it in preference to my Polar RS800 I used to use. The Suunto has adequate Recovery Time estimates that help me plan my workout schedule.

Treadmill Display after my Anaerobic Threshold Training session
Treadmill Display after my Anaerobic Threshold Training session

I got on and spent about 20 minutes warming up gently at first and then increasing the speed until I got into the upper 140 BPM range. With the watch set on the handle right in front of my face it was easy to keep an eye on it without having to lift my wrist every few seconds. As you can see in the screenshot below I was able to keep my HR in that Zone pretty well level. I wanted to hit 5 miles in 60 minutes as a side goal. I recommend that if you’ve never done this before don’t set a mileage goal. You might be disappointed. Running at 10,000′ of elevation while holding your Heart Rate at 148 BPM is tough enough without adding in all kinds of other distractions like speed and distance goals.

Movescount statistics from my Anaerobic Threshold Training Session
Movescount statistics from my Anaerobic Threshold Training Session

You might not have any issue with elevation, but even so, you’re probably used to drifting in and out of different Heart Rate Zones during a workout and being locked into one might give you fits. After you’ve done this a bit then you can start to set mileage and speed based goals. And that is actually one of the primary reasons for Anaerobic Threshold Training. If you cross fully into the Anaerobic Training Zone you will have only so many minutes left at that speed and you’re done. This is what gets a Tour de France rider into that final sprint. You ration your sprinting and use it in bursts saving for the big one. In fact I found a lot more articles about Anaerobic Threshold Training for riders than for runners. They love that power meter.

Incline Treadmill Calculator Results from my Training Session
Incline Treadmill Calculator Results from my Training Session

So our goal in this training is to ride that 90% line for as long as you can. Ultimately you work your way up to riding that line for the duration of your event. You try to keep your Heart Rate below your Anaerobic Zone until the end and then you cut loose with energy in reserve to maximize your sprint. It’s quite common for someone in a race to spend their Anaerobic Reserves at the starting line and burn out way to early.

My current training goal is Elbrus Race 2014 so I am working up to 3 hours. During that time I will slowly increase in speed and efficiency, as would you if you choose to train this way. In past years I trained somewhat haphazardly going for max speed and max distance and max elevation gained training. I burned out rather quickly since I spent too long in that Anaerobic Zone and it was unstructured. Last year, for Elbrus Race 2013 I changed my training drastically and stayed at a much lower Heart Rate during training and I did finish the race. My protege Todd Gilles came in 3rd place, which was quite satisfying.

It has taken me a few weeks to work this out and get to the point where I could sustain that level of effort for that period of time and work out the technique of adjusting the treadmill to accommodate my Heart Rate Zone target on the fly. Supposedly there are some treadmills that will do this automagically, but electronics being what they are, and treadmill manufacturers not taking things as seriously as we do I can’t imagine great success with that. I suppose a drift of 10 BPM over the course of 5 minutes would be quite acceptable to them. We want nearly instantaneous response to our Heart Rate. This is best done by hand.

Give it a shot if you dare. If you are ready to ride that 90% line and make it work. Please be careful though, okay?

 


I just published a new article for my elite athletes training for Elbrus Race 2014 using Anaerobic Threshold Training as the base of this training cycle: [CLICK HERE]

Slower cardio base training is a key element of my Couch to Colorado 14er Program. Build that cardio base and test it on a 4000 meter mountain. [CLICK HERE]

 If you want any help in your own training, check out my Consulting Programs. I’m available to get you where you want to be. [CLICK HERE]


Update: In discussing this with my Facebook Page it became obvious that I need to add in a disclaimer. This is a very technical specific way of training. If you do not already know that you should be training this way, and understand why, it’s probably not a good idea to just sporadically do it without a good reason.



Trail Running Microspikes in Winter

I normally only wear trail running microspikes, like the Kahtoola Microspikes while doing speed ascents on mountains, like Quandary or Grays, Colorado 14ers. The snow this year has been so soft, and the trails have been so slow, that I tried running in just plain lugged shoes, snowshoes [STORY HERE] and my spiked running shoes [STORY HERE]. A couple weeks ago the Spring Thaw finally arrived and after a couple of good damp snowfalls and a few days of sun the trails became more firm with a good surface for spiked running.

Trail Running Spiked Running Shoes in Winter

I was feeling really good on 19 February, so I took off up the trail with a target of something over 2.5 miles. I ended up with 2.6 miles on my spiked Hoka shoes. I was feeling so good that on the way down I did an interval of just cutting loose and came pretty close to a 5:00 pace. That felt awesome. If you love stats check these out, from Strava and Movescount.

One difference between Strava and Movescount is that Strava doesn’t count standing still in the final calculation, whereas Movescount goes from watch ON to watch OFF. It adds in the dead time when you first start the watch and then when you finally roll in to the bus stop and dig through layers of clothing to turn it off. Not a major deal though.

It was great to average 12:14 after averaging in the 15:00-17:00 range for the last 8 weeks. Did I mention that the snow had been deep and soft up to now? It was inspiring and I decided that I’d rest up a day then try again with trail running microspikes on over my non-spiked Hoka running shoes. Say what you want, but I do enjoy the recovery speed in these shoes.

Trail Running Microspikes in Winter

I went back to the trail then on 21 February after a day of rest and for some odd reason I set my target as a fast 10k trail run on the snow in the trail running microspikes from Kahtoola. Like I said before, I had worn them several times on the mountain trails on my ascents. I just had never tried for a less steep speed run in them.

Trail running microspikes by Kahtoola on my Hoka One One Stinson EVO shoes
Trail running microspikes by Kahtoola on my Hoka One One Stinson EVO shoes

Putting on Trail Running Microspikes – the video

For fun I decided to share this little video of putting on the trail running microspikes. I’m in a bus shelter near the trail head, just for convenience for shooting the video.

I got onto the trail and began running. And I just kept on running. And running. It felt good. I enjoyed the traction and the extra few ounces on my feet from the trail running microspikes was almost negligible. I felt like I was going pretty quickly and that inspired me to just keep going to the turn-around point of the run near the bottom of the Santiago Express lift at Keystone Resort. This road is used by the ski patrol and maintenance crew for the Outback area of the ski resort. That’s why the surface texture varies quite a bit. When the snow is soft it’s shin deep snowmobile chop. When the snow is firm and packed it’s the corduroy snowcat tracks. Like that day.

I felt good at the lifts so I took a chug of water and then took off back down. My goal on the way downhill was to let gravity help me to achieve a smooth even speed at about my maximum endurance level. I hung on hard for the whole downhill and it felt great. I don’t know for sure if the extra traction of the trail running microspikes helped, but I’m very happy with the 6.7 miles I ended up with. At a 12:19 pace. Here are the stats for you that are interested:

The most fascinating thing to me is that in the 2.6 miles I was in Zone 6 (anaerobic pace zone via Strava) for 1:45. In the 6.7 miles I stayed in that zone for 9:30. Freaking amazing to me. In trail running microspikes in the snow. To go 2.5 times (two and a half times) as far and only lose 4 seconds per mile (12:14 vs. 12:19) proves that something I’m doing in my training is working. Gives me a lot to think about, for sure.

Trail Running Microspikes by Kahtoola, Hoka running shoes, and UA gloves, drying out after my run
Trail Running Microspikes by Kahtoola, Hoka running shoes, and UA gloves, drying out after my run

Trail Running Microspikes in Action – the video

Here I am holding a camera out away and trying for different angles without breaking my 8:30-ish pace or falling down and breaking me. I love the shadows on the corduroy snow the best. Then the trees blowing by. Enjoy…

So, how do I feel about the trail running microspikes, now that I’ve had a chance to use them? For one thing I can feel them, even through the thick sole of these shoes. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When I picked up the pace I was moving fast enough to ignore them. I loved the traction. The weight is obviously irrelevant. I’m going to experiment with what’s left of the Winter going back and forth between the trail running microspikes and the spiked running shoes to see if I can refine my opinion. If you want to be alerted when I write more articles like this, please subscribe to the blog for updates. Thanks.

Running in MSR Snowshoes

If you remember my last article about Snowshoe Hiking in Colorado [CLICK HERE] I mentioned that I was using MSR EVO Ascent snowshoes and that I would hardly consider running in them. Here’s the article quote:

I have a pair of MSR Evo Ascent Snow Shoes, and so long as you’re not trying to run, they’re decent enough for snowshoe hiking.

Running in MSR Snowshoes - Pace Intervals on STRAVA
Running in MSR Snowshoes – Pace Intervals on STRAVA

I decided to give it a try to see how I would do, in spite of that, since I know a few people do run in them. I’ve seen someone running in MSR snowshoes on the Steven’s Gulch Road toward the Grays Peak Trailhead. Trail running has been rough the past several weeks with all the fresh snow we’ve been getting in Summit County Colorado. I’ve been getting slower and slower with each run. The snow has been loose and just sucks your feet in no matter what type of spikes you wear. I did my 10k hike in the snowshoes and my speed was actually right in there with my slower trail runs. So I decided to try running in MSR snowshoes to see what happened.

Experiment: Running in MSR Snowshoes

I began with a fairly mild pace, going for about 15:00. That seems slow if you’re used to running pavement at sea level in warm temps. In loose snow trying to figure out the whole snowshoe running thing while going uphill at 5-10% it’s not too bad. After I felt warmed up I set the camera on the tripod and started an interval up and down the road. I was surprised that my watch reported the two back to back intervals at 7:30 and 8:00. I didn’t feel like I was going that fast. Later I checked STRAVA and sure enough it coincided with the watch readout.

The last time, on my hike in snowshoes, I wore my Salomon 3D Ultra shoes. My feet got pretty sore in a few spots so this time I wore my Hoka One One Stinson EVO for the extra padding. I have an older pair I run in a lot on the snow because I spiked them [SEE ARTICLE]. These are a newer pair with no spikes and only about 50 miles.

Video: Running in MSR Snowshoes with Non-synchronous Poles

In this first video I’m using a pole action similar to what I do in my vertical running training. I reach forward, walk up to the pole till approximately even with it, and let it trail to the rear as I set the opposite pole. I might take 2, 3, or 4 steps between pole plants. It’s easy on the arms and I can always push harder or lighter with the poles.

Video: Running in MSR Snowshoes with Synchronous Poles

In this video view of running in MSR snowshoes I’m using synchronized pole plants. I’m using them in a short arc jab, one for each foot landing. I found it to be very powerful and fast feeling, even though the interval time was slower at around 7:40, there wasn’t an appreciable difference between the uphill and downhill speeds. That was interesting. I noticed this pattern in the Nordic events in the Sochi2014 Olympics and wondered how I could make use of it in my own training.

I spent some time in the 12:00 range, which is a little faster than I’ve been doing in spiked running shoes in the loose snow. I was surprised that running in MSR snowshoes wasn’t that bad. I thought that as wide as they were I’d have a weird gorilla gait. It turns out you can slide them right over each other with the edge inside the little groove in the toe of the snowshoe. This allows for a closer foot path while running and helps prevent you from tripping over the other shoe.

Running in MSR Snowshoes with overlapping grooves shown
Running in MSR Snowshoes with overlapping grooves shown

In the photo above, taken during my previous snowshoe hike in my Salomons, I added in red arrows to show the overlapping grooves that allow you to keep your feet closer together while running in MSR snowshoes. I’d love to try other brands to see how they perform, now that I’ve had a taste of this fun winter sport.

On the flip side, I found that running in MSR snowshoes is a bit noisy. When the flat plastic plate hits the snow at various angles you can hear a definite pop and slap noise. It’s not a major issue, just a minor annoyance that I’m sure you can hear a few times on the videos.

UPDATE: Found this really good Trail Runner Magazine Article on Snowshoe Running

Snowshoe Hiking in Colorado

I’ve been running a lot this past winter. We’ve had a lot of snow this past month and the trails I usually use are very deep soft snow. Even the roads that the snowmobiles pack down are really loose and bad footing to run on. At the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake this January I was talking to a sales rep for a Colorado snowshoe manufacturer and he recommended I try snowshoe hiking.

Snowshoe Hiking Selfie - note the really cool shades
Snowshoe Hiking Selfie – note the really cool shades

I have a pair of MSR Evo Ascent Snow Shoes, and so long as you’re not trying to run, they’re decent enough for snowshoe hiking. I used them on Denali in 2011 and on Rainier a few years before that. I talked to the sales rep about switching out to running snowshoes, but thought I’d get some miles in with snowshoe hiking before I try running.

I started at the road intersection where the county stops plowing and put the snowshoes on. I headed up the hill trying to match my recent loose snow running pace of around 17:00 per mile. That’s really slow for some of you sea level pavement runners. Just for fun try running at 10,000′ and in shin deep loose snow over creek overflow ice and chopped up ice from the snowcat treads. With my snowshoe hiking pace I was able to stay within a minute or two plus or minus of that pace. My heart rate was good in the upper ranges of my primary training zone.

Snowshoe hiking behind Labonte's Cabin and Santiago Express at Keystone Resort
Snowshoe hiking behind Labonte’s Cabin and Santiago Express at Keystone Resort

After snowshoe hiking 3.1 miles (about 5k) I got to the base of the lifts at Keystone Resort. This is the road that the Ski Patrol uses to access the Outback and North Peak area of Keystone. I took a few pics and turned back toward the paved road with the target of doing a 10K, about 6.2 miles. I popped off my snowshoes at the shuttle bus stop. The roads were really bad from the snowstorm. I was glad to get to the hot tub after that. I was dressed very lightly since my intent was to go fast enough to stay warm.

Snowshoe Hiking Video

Is snowshoe hiking a good workout?

By the time I was done with my snowshoe hike I really felt the difference with that extra pound or so on each foot. I was wearing heavy goretex trail running shoes and I could feel the snowshoe bindings in a few spots on my foot. My legs were pretty tired. My stats from Movescount.com CLICK HERE show that I have a 29 hour recovery period coming my way after burning 1097 calories. If you go to that link to check it out, you will see some of the stats in Metric unless you register. Here’s a screenshot from my account so you can see my heart rate zones and other information to evaluate whether snowshoe hiking could be good cross training in your plan.

Snowshoe hiking stats on Suunto Movescount website
Snowshoe hiking stats on Suunto Movescount website

Snowshoe Hiking Tips:

Dress appropriate to your movement and speed and your body will go that fast. If you’re dressed like the Michelin Man you will shuffle along at a 1.0 MPH pace. Your hike will take forever. You might not have fun unless your goal is to count pine cones.

Same for shoes. You can go in Sorel style Mukluks or whatever you want. I’ve been on Denali in Everest Style System Boots (the big heavy boots with built in gaiters for high altitude and frigid temps) with snowshoes. I was wearing heavy running shoes today. The snowshoe racers wear racing flats with their snowshoes.

Learn to use a Nordic Grip on your trekking poles. This will allow you the most flexibility in using them for pushing off as well as balance. They’re not there to hold you up while shuffling. In the video I had to carry my poles in one hand so I could hold the camera in the other, so you don’t get to see pole action. I’ll try to get a non-selfie shot for you so you can see it.

Snowshoe Hiking Keystone Gulch GPS Track

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This won’t be my last time snowshoe hiking this winter. I’ll keep you up to date on how it works out for me. If you have any questions or suggestions, please drop me a note below in the comments. Thanks.