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Posts Tagged ‘hiking’

Altitude

Just returned from a week hiking and running in the Central Cascades in Oregon, in the Sisters area, Bend, and Crater Lake.  Sleeping in a transparent tent is a great way to get your sleep cycled synced with the sun..up at dawn every day.  Most of  my days went like this: rise at dawn, eat,  hike up a mountain, admire the view, eat, hike back down, eat, and go to bed at dark.   I’m still not sure if hiking uphill is good cross-training for running though.  My hips were pretty sore, but I couldn’t tell if that meant I was strengthening those hip flexors and extensors, or that my body just didn’t like  sleeping on the cold hard ground!  Most of the trails aren’t really well suited to running because of the elevation gain and the fact that there is usually a scary precipice to fall down immediately to your right or left.  But, I did run in the Hoodoo ski area, around Bend along the Deschutes, and on the Sisters trail network which was relatively flat.  I also did some running in Portland .. on the unremitting hills of Forest Park and the flat and treeless Northeast section, past pie bars,  pot stores, ayurvedic yoga studios, and telephone poles decorated with Bernie Sanders posters.  I love Portland!

Base camp in the mountains was at about 3500 feet and one or two days I hiked as high as 9000 feet.   I was curious to see what effect the altitude would have on my running, but I didn’t notice much. other than a bit more heavy breathing than usual during a run. Between the smoke from the wildfires, the dust from the drought, the dryness in the air, and the altitude, I was expecting more problems than I had.  I did, however, cut way back on my miles, since I was doing some activity every day with no rest days in between.    Oddly, or maybe not oddly, I had way more trouble on the airplane coming home…the worst ear pain ever, nausea, sore throat, headache, the whole works, and no amount of yawning or gum chewing helped.    And weirdest of all: the inside of my eustachian tubes itched like crazy on the descent.  Oh well.  Home at sea level now, and all is well.

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Normally I only go hiking when I’m injured and can’t run, but lately I’ve been thinking about hiking as cross-training for running.  Two weeks ago I went for a 10+ mile run in the morning, and then went on an 8 mile hike in the afternoon.  I found the hike much more exhausting than the run, and by the end of the hike, I was tired in a way that I never am after a run.  Last weekend I went on a similar length hike, and this time I hadn’t run beforehand.  And again, I felt really tired.  I’m not sure if significantly different muscles are used when hiking, or if it has to do with carrying a pack (although mine wasn’t very heavy.)  But one thing I notice is that the passage of time itself seems to tire me out, so if it takes me twice as long to cover the same distance hiking compared with running, I’m going to end up twice as tired.  Does that make sense at all?  I suppose it’s partly psychological…I’m easily bored and I feel impatient when hiking with a group that likes to take frequent breaks.   Or perhaps it is an issue of fueling as well.  I never take gels or any calories while running these days, but maybe I need to do so when hiking just because I’m working hard for a longer period of time.  I’m going to try to get a hike in every Sunday since my long runs are on Saturdays, and I’ll

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see if this gets better over time.  I guess  like anything else, hiking will get easier with more practice, due to a specific training effect.

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