8,172ft… 3 hikes… and a 50# pack

Apparently, I decided to go big this week without really meaning to. I managed to get in three hikes between Saturday and Thursday with a total of 8,172ft elevation gain and a 50 pound pack. And, this isn’t the only training I did this week either. Throw in a bit of strength training and a CrossFit workout on top of all that hiking. I’d say it was a good training week and it’s not even over yet…

I’m normally a light and fast kind of girl when it comes to hitting the trail, so training to go slow and heavy is a bit a of a mental game for me. I normally charge up the mountain with little concern about overexerting myself. I understand pacing and I know my body pretty well, so I know how hard and how fast I can push for a single day or multi-day climb. Pacing for a month long climb at high elevation in absurdly cold weather is a whole different animal. You have to go slow and steady, you don’t have a choice.

Until this week, I’ve had a bit of an issue keeping my pace slow enough to actually mimic our climbing pace. Training within this zone is really important. You’re teaching your body how it should behave in a particular situation so it knows what to do once game day (or month) comes. But this pace is hard for me. I have a tendency to go hard and can generally keep descent pace for a relatively long time. However, this is not always an efficient way to climb. Going too hard for too long puts you at risk of burning out before making your objective or getting injured. Not good.

As I increased my pack weight to 50 pounds this week, it really hit me that I finally hit a weight that slowed me down enough to where I just can’t move any faster. My legs feel fine, my back and core feel strong and up to the task, my breathing is slightly elevated, and I’m moving soooo slooooow (compared to what I’m used to). This is part of my mental challenge. Can I hike on the trail slow enough to train my body properly for a month long climb without losing my mind? I have a little over two more months to find out…

Thoughts? Comments? Advice?

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