Layman’s Guide to Hiking – Pace

paceSo I’ve decided to get off nutrition and move onto something a little more informative. I think the last post “Breakfast” covered hiking nutrition enough.

Ok, pace. It’s the speed you would like to move at constantly and maintain. Of course it changes with the angle of the incline/decline. And of course, the flatter the elevation, the easier it is to keep a fast pace. But on the inclines, how does one know what pace to keep? Some go at a pace that they can maintain at a steady speed over the course of an hour or so. Some go at a pace based off their heart rate. I guess I would fall in the latter category.

So while on the trail and while I’m busting my butt up an incline, how do I know my heart rate is near it’s peak? Well if I had a heart rate monitor I would let the alarm sound off. But since I don’t have such a nifty device, I rely on the good old thumping sound in my ears. Usually by this point I’m breathing pretty heavily and sweating a good amount. I can maintain the pace for a little longer, but eventually I know that I’m going to have to take a break. Instead of breaking, I prefer to just slow the pace down the let the body recover a little before trying to find the pace again.

But, why set pace to heart rate over a hiking for a constant time? I believe that it allows for (1) maximizing speed, and (2) getting the best possible workout.

Also, pace is dictated by length of the hike and overall gain. There’s no sense on having a fast paced start only to burn out midway through the hike. Likewise pack weight, weather, and a host of other variables will set the pace for you. In the end, you’ll set the pace that you’re most comfortable with.

Related posts:

Layman's Guide to Hiking - Part I: Breakfast
The Layman's Guide to Hiking Series: Point/Counterpoint
Optimizing The Trail Run - Cornering

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 10th, 2009 at 12:02 am and is filed under John's Guide to Hiking. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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