Training for the Mountains

Susanna Raymundo gets you ready to hit the mountains

       To seriously climb in the mountains you need resistance—the capacity to maintain physical exertion for a prolonged period. This resistance is not achieved with merely one week of training. You need a minimum of five weeks or more in order to climb the steepest and tallest mountains without feeling like death the next day.

       When you are training, it is important to have a minimum of two rest days per week during which you can go to a sauna, have a massage, or do hydrotherapy. This is important, because the body needs rest in order to recuperate lost nutrients and avoid injuries.   For optimum training, it is essential to have a medical check-up so as to identify or treat any health problems or risks. Furthermore, it is beneficial to see a physical therapist regularly, regardless of whether you are undertaking intensive training.

       With the aim of aiding heart, lung and muscle capacity, it is important to use light and comfortable hiking shoes and light, breathable clothing (polyester works well because it dries rapidly).  Don’t wear jeans, they restrict body movement.

       Choose your training terrain based on what kind of hiking most interests you:

       Flat, Long-Distance Terrain: In order to ascertain a person’s running capacity, a physical therapist can do an evaluation. The distance can be increased each week. This evaluation will of course be undertaken with any medical recommendations in mind.

       Warm-up: This follows the same guidelines from the previous month’s article. You need to stretch and then walk with alternating speeds.   

       Resistance Phase: Little by little, begin to run and increase speed until you reach a comfortable pace. You can check if your speed is adequate by chatting for 20 seconds. If you are panting, then lower the speed until you feel more comfortable. After finding an adequate pace, maintain a steady breathing rhythm and don’t talk. You will begin to feel tired after a few kilometers. Maintain your speed for a few more minutes, and then begin to progressively lower your speed to a light jog, then a fast walk etc. Breathe deeply and slowly. Take a few minutes to hydrate.

       For Steep Terrain: Do long distance running up inclines, such as slowly rising hills and mountains. This will condition you for hiking mountains for many hours and sometimes days. If you decide to ascend and descend whilst running, you should lessen the total distance. Don’t forget to warm-up and stretch.

       Ideally, keeping these tips in mind you’ll be set for your hiking—whether on flat terrain or steep terrain make sure you’re prepared for a great hike.

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