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10-K
11-04-2013, 09:39
My normal MO is to get up around 4:30/5:00 AM and be on the trail hiking before 5:30 and not stopping until just before dark. Doing this I can get in 24-28 miles every day but after a week or so I have to take a day off because I'm fairly spent.

So... taking an average of 25 mpd * 6 days = 150 miles per week.

However, when I just hiked the Springer to Erwin section I had it setup where I would be going into a town roughly every other day (until GSMNP) so in order to maximize my time in town I stopped short at 21ish miles every day.

21 mpd * 7 days = 147 miles per week. Just 3 miles short of my normal pace.

The difference is that 21 miles a day has no noticeable effect on my energy level nor am I sore - my thought was that I could hike 21 mpd indefinitely......

I say all that to say this: Have you ever noticed that you can actually go as far by hiking less each day than if you hike as far as you physically can day in and day out.

.... I'm probably the last person to figure this out...

Lone Wolf
11-04-2013, 09:42
i start walkin' around 8 am and quit around 3 pm or so. i'm all about campin'

10-K
11-04-2013, 09:43
i start walkin' around 8 am and quit around 3 pm or so. i'm all about campin'

I'd go stark raving mad. :)

garlic08
11-04-2013, 09:47
... I'm probably the last person to figure this out...

I think even Aesop had a handle on it.

atmilkman
11-04-2013, 09:49
i start walkin' around 8 am and quit around 3 pm or so. i'm all about campin'

Could it be said - "it's just camping".

aficion
11-04-2013, 09:51
I'd go stark raving mad. :)

I am stark raving mad. I do both, regularly. Night hike too. I can sit and watch the grass grow for hours and be happy as a clam. Next day I might not want to sit still or stop at the end of the day. Part of the joy of being out there is being able to switch things up, whether for good reason, or just on a whim. You learn to use, and trust, your gut, especially if you don't filter or treat.

Tri-Pod Bob
11-04-2013, 09:57
I am stark raving mad. I do both, regularly. Night hike too. I can sit and watch the grass grow for hours and be happy as a clam. Next day I might not want to sit still or stop at the end of the day. Part of the joy of being out there is being able to switch things up, whether for good reason, or just on a whim. You learn to use, and trust, your gut, especially if you don't filter or treat.

+1 on this!!! Some days it's about walkin' & enjoying the scenery as it goes by.......some days it's about sittin' & enjoying a beauty location!

Astro
11-04-2013, 10:14
It probably can be explained with an inverted U curve and the law of diminishing returns (after you reach your optimal hiking rate). :)

Namtrag
11-04-2013, 10:17
10-K, you do in one day what it would take me a week to do. I enjoy hiking about 7-8 miles and then stopping at the best view, stream, etc campsite to rest up and enjoy the company I am with. Maybe if I can get in shape, I could go farther in a day, but right now, I just have to be happy with my miniscule distance.

max patch
11-04-2013, 10:30
i start walkin' around 8 am and quit around 3 pm or so. i'm all about campin'

Gotta post to WB!

10-K
11-04-2013, 10:32
I think even Aesop had a handle on it.

Ha! Tortoise and the Hare. Of course.

Starchild
11-04-2013, 10:48
My big mile days tended to be days I slept in and got a late start, usually one of the last or the last to leave camp. I figured it made me feel more energized so I hiked faster, also perhaps feeling a need to keep up with my social bubble helped, but in the evening I ended up being energized to go extra distance. In the south this meant 20-30 mile days (one 36 miler also), while stopping due to the end of the day, not the end of the energy. Frequent town stops and neros were my main rest, only zeroing down there due to friend visits and weather.

In the north however everything changes.

HikerMom58
11-04-2013, 10:49
I want to know what Just Bill thinks about all this.....

Ewker
11-04-2013, 10:59
10-K, you do in one day what it would take me a week to do. I enjoy hiking about 7-8 miles and then stopping at the best view, stream, etc campsite to rest up and enjoy the company I am with. Maybe if I can get in shape, I could go farther in a day, but right now, I just have to be happy with my miniscule distance.


totally agree with this. To me it is just being out there not how fast I can hike

Rasty
11-04-2013, 11:02
totally agree with this. To me it is just being out there not how fast I can hike

I'm not a fast hiker. I just start early and hike all day to do anywhere between 16 and 22 miles.

10-K
11-04-2013, 11:04
totally agree with this. To me it is just being out there not how fast I can hike

I have no problem with that at all!

I was careful to put this in the "speed hiking and trail running" forum I thought... let me check.

The Solemates
11-04-2013, 11:13
i do whatever i want. sometimes i hike fast and far. sometimes i hike slow or not at all. whatever the mood i'm in. and i rarely keep up with it. people often ask me how far i have walked that day. i usually say something like "i figure between 12 and 15 miles." they usually reply by saying "we did 12.36, but went off trail for 0.78 miles" or something ridiculous.

atmilkman
11-04-2013, 11:13
I want to know what Just Bill thinks about all this.....
Better pull up a chair and get a long tall drink.

Lone Wolf
11-04-2013, 11:16
Better pull up a chair and get a long tall drink.

...and get ready to be fed a long line of bs

max patch
11-04-2013, 11:21
I want to know what Just Bill thinks about all this.....

He's too busy being an outdoorsman and saving lives and stuff to care about what happens on the internets.

Storm
11-04-2013, 11:32
At my age it's all about being in tune with your body. If I push myself past my limits one day I know that I will be paying a price for it the next day. I like to hike most of the day but take several long breaks. Seems like by not pushing myself to the limit I get stronger everyday and in the long run hike more miles.

10-K
11-04-2013, 11:32
I come here to rest up between hikes mostly now myself. Not quite ready to retire into "White Blaze Assisted Living"....

10-K
11-04-2013, 11:34
At my age it's all about being in tune with your body. If I push myself past my limits one day I know that I will be paying a price for it the next day. I like to hike most of the day but take several long breaks. Seems like by not pushing myself to the limit I get stronger everyday and in the long run hike more miles.

This is in line with what I experienced. By stopping short of the max I *could* hike I'm able to hike with fewer zeros and ultimately hike as far as if I was beating myself to death.

Another Kevin
11-04-2013, 11:35
I'll cast my lot with the low-milers. I'm going to repeat my heresy: backpacking isn't my first love. I like getting to interesting places, sightseeing, photography. Maybe bagging a peak or three. Engaging in the banter at a shelter or overlook. Learning about the local geology, botany, zoology. Some of the interesting places that I want to visit are farther than I want to go as a day trip - because on a high-miles day trip I wouldn't have the time to enjoy them. So my backpack comes along for the ride.

I think that I'd start worrying about how many miles I make only if I were contemplating a trip where I'd have a hard time carrying the supplies. There aren't many places like that here in the Northeast. And my wife gets really nervous if I'm more than a day's walk - at my leisurely pace - from the road.

And that's why I'll probably never be a thru-hiker. I honestly don't think I'd like it very much, having to worry about making enough miles to finish in a season. I'm a clueless weekender (clueless about long-distance hiking, anyway!) and I like it that way. I'm also clueless about how many miles I can do - because with my hiking style, the elevation changes whack me before the miles do. For example, the weekend trip I did about a month ago was only about a 16-mile loop, but with about 10,000 feet of elevation change (up+down) on the 9-mile second day. When there's that much rock scrambling, 8-10 mile days are about all I feel comfortable planning. And most of my trips lately seem to be like that.

Storm
11-04-2013, 11:35
I come here to rest up between hikes mostly now myself. Not quite ready to retire into "White Blaze Assisted Living"....

+1 on that. Of course WB is a nice distraction.

Teacher & Snacktime
11-04-2013, 11:42
i start walkin' around 8 am and quit around 3 pm or so. i'm all about campin'

Absolutely! I don't diminish the choice to go for the high miles since the HYOH idea is near and dear to me. But "our" hike is short miles, slow pace, appreciate all you can on the way, and bunk down as comfortably as possible.

rocketsocks
11-04-2013, 11:42
Yep, I make this distinction for myself as well...though my numbers are completely different than yours 10-K...completely! Those extre few miles will lay me up for a couple days if not payin attention.

Teacher & Snacktime
11-04-2013, 11:46
It probably can be explained with an inverted U curve and the law of diminishing returns (after you reach your optimal hiking rate). :)

Spoken like a true economist...I once had the LoDR lesson using a bowl, milk, and entire box of Cheerios. By the fourth bowl the message was indelibly sunk into my psych :).

I find that the "extra mile" can mar all those previous....better to quit while one still feels somewhat energetic.

Ewker
11-04-2013, 12:22
I was careful to put this in the "speed hiking and trail running" forum I thought... let me check.

you did and I missed that

Dogwood
11-04-2013, 12:26
White Blaze Assisted Living - LOL.

Say whatever you want about JB. NO ONE is above throwing around some BS at times, just not me. Uh, I think I just proved my point. :D He seems to be one of those deep thinking people. It comes out through his writing style. At least it shows he thinks deeply about things and perhaps has something substantive to share. The written word tends to be more verbose. It's my guess his verbal word, person to person, is less verbose. It's the nature of the different ways to communicate. It certainly is true for me.

Tortoise and hair hiking styles do not need to be mutually exclusive. I'm both at different times sometimes on the same long distance hike sometimes on consecutive days. Sometimes I adopt a very set routine dialed in faster paced 25+ avg MPD hiking style and at other times I'll avg 12 MPD. Flow with the rhythms is perhaps the best way to describe my hiking.

Coffee
11-04-2013, 12:59
I think that everyone is different regarding what we look for on the trail. This year, I found that I enjoy myself much more if I'm moving than if I have a great deal of time in camp. The perfect days for me involved waking up slightly before sunrise (no need for an alarm, the birds are natural alarm clocks), getting on the trail 90 minutes later after eating a hot breakfast with coffee, hiking 4-5 hours at a moderate to fast pace, spending about 30-45 minutes eating lunch at a pass or scenic spot, then hiking another 4-5 hours or so at a moderate to more leisurely pace rolling into camp around 5-6 pm. That left just enough time to to set up camp, clean up a little, maybe do some laundry, eat dinner, get settled into my tent and read for 30-45 minutes before turning in. As I look back at my journal, those were the days that I enjoyed most. In contrast, there were a few days where my planned hiking for the day was over at noon or early afternoon. Mostly because hiking further would mess up my pre-planned itinerary (I had fixed travel dates and some lodging reservations). I got restless sitting around camp even though the scenery was usually great. A few times, I did small hikes from camp and I liked that better than just hanging around. The main lesson I learned is that on my next long trip, I am not going to plan an itinerary on a spreadsheet ahead of time. No fixed reservations or travel dates. That will give me maximum flexibility. Not having an itinerary goes against my nature - in day to day life I live in spreadsheets. So it will be a different mindset.

HikerMom58
11-04-2013, 13:18
i start walkin' around 8 am and quit around 3 pm or so. i'm all about campin'

I hope you enjoy campin' without a picnic table or a covered place to put ur pack on rainy days, while you set up ur tent or a place to get out of a down pour, hail etc... bad boy! Burn the picnic tables & tear down all the shelters...uh huh! No more parties in the shelters for you. Make a believer out of me... do 1 more thru hike & film it. Go SOBO it's better that way! ;)

I really would be interested in hearing from JB on this. I'm sure he would have a well thought out post. I'm serious.

My thoughts are- If you are going the distance, it would be better to not push yourself to the limit everyday, day after day. Pay attention to your body & hike accordingly. Everyone is different, of course, but we all require the same care of ourselves. It's not only good for you physically but mentally, I would think. We are fearfully & wonderfully made...

Malto
11-04-2013, 13:32
I have found that it is counterproductive to push the mileage on any given day. Generally it will come directly out of tomorrows mileage. I saw this big time on the PCt when I hit NoCal and started really pushing the miles to make up for lost time in the Sierra snow. I noticed I would do long day/short day with the long day being about 3 miles over average and the short being a couple below. I think you are seeing the same thing on a longer time frame. I believe it is a sign that you may be pushing your days beyond the limit that you can sustain day after day. This is why I usually recommend that you are able to hike 150% of your desired daily average as a day hike prior to your hike and still be able to walk the next day.

max patch
11-04-2013, 13:37
When you stop at 3:00 you get to pick your shelter spot. Latecomers gotta take whats left.

Mags
11-04-2013, 13:46
I find I hike further overall if I don't max out my mileage. I can do 25-30 MPD if I push it, but it eventually catches up.

I do around 22-25 MPD, I can consistently do that type of day seemingly forever.

Lone Wolf
11-04-2013, 14:36
I hope you enjoy campin' without a picnic table or a covered place to put ur pack on rainy days, while you set up ur tent or a place to get out of a down pour, hail etc... bad boy! Burn the picnic tables & tear down all the shelters...uh huh! No more parties in the shelters for you. Make a believer out of me... do 1 more thru hike & film it. Go SOBO it's better that way! ;)

what the hell you babblin' about?

Namtrag
11-04-2013, 14:38
I've never through hiked, but I recall in one PCT book I read, that the author ran across a guy (and even hiked a high mileage day or two with him) who did some ungodly distance in a 3 day period, and did what Malto alluded to...the guy I think ended up having to go off the trail because it messed him up so bad to push that hard for that long.

Another Kevin
11-04-2013, 14:42
The perfect days for me involved ... hiking 4-5 hours at a moderate to fast pace, spending about 30-45 minutes eating lunch at a pass or scenic spot, then hiking another 4-5 hours or so at a moderate to more leisurely pace .... (Non hiking activities deleted from the quote.)

Uhm, me too. But I'm slow.

My personal Naismith Rule is 30 minutes to the mile, add 40-45 minutes for a thousand feet of elevation change. So for the weekend that I mentioned, 14-16 miles and 5000 feet up/5000 feet down, that was 7-8 hours for the distance and add another 6.5-7.5 hours for the climbing and descent. I got a late start on the Saturday, and most of the climbing was on the Sunday, so the second day was a little bit longer than your pattern. (9.5 miles and about 8500 feet of elevation change = 10-11 hours, and that was about how long it took me.)

Are all the high-milers just that much faster than me, or on easier trails, or what?

10-K
11-04-2013, 15:11
I find I hike further overall if I don't max out my mileage. I can do 25-30 MPD if I push it, but it eventually catches up.

I do around 22-25 MPD, I can consistently do that type of day seemingly forever.

That's it exactly...

QiWiz
11-04-2013, 15:13
My normal MO is to get up around 4:30/5:00 AM and be on the trail hiking before 5:30 and not stopping until just before dark. Doing this I can get in 24-28 miles every day but after a week or so I have to take a day off because I'm fairly spent.

Why not get up whenever you wake up naturally, then hike with a distance goal in mind for when and where you want to camp. If you get there ahead of time (or not) and feel like it and the trail allows, hike a bit farther. Seems like to NEED a rest day every six days or so does mean you are pushing yourself rather than just going with the flow of what your body can do comfortably.

10-K
11-04-2013, 15:13
Are all the high-milers just that much faster than me, or on easier trails, or what?

I'm betting the majority hike more hours in the day than miles per hour than you.

As best I can tell, the secret to making miles is time, not speed.

aficion
11-04-2013, 16:16
I'm betting the majority hike more hours in the day than miles per hour than you.

As best I can tell, the secret to making miles is time, not speed.

I can do a 30 mile day in moderate terrain without bonking. I can't do two of them back to back. For going day after day without needing time off, I've found 18 to 20 mpd works for me. As I age, that number comes down.

Pedaling Fool
11-04-2013, 16:30
My normal MO is to get up around 4:30/5:00 AM and be on the trail hiking before 5:30 and not stopping until just before dark. Doing this I can get in 24-28 miles every day but after a week or so I have to take a day off because I'm fairly spent.

So... taking an average of 25 mpd * 6 days = 150 miles per week.

However, when I just hiked the Springer to Erwin section I had it setup where I would be going into a town roughly every other day (until GSMNP) so in order to maximize my time in town I stopped short at 21ish miles every day.

21 mpd * 7 days = 147 miles per week. Just 3 miles short of my normal pace.

The difference is that 21 miles a day has no noticeable effect on my energy level nor am I sore - my thought was that I could hike 21 mpd indefinitely......

I say all that to say this: Have you ever noticed that you can actually go as far by hiking less each day than if you hike as far as you physically can day in and day out.

.... I'm probably the last person to figure this out...
I can relate to this on two fronts from personal experience and it's not just a simple matter of overdoing it.

The first scenario is kind of like overdoing it, but not exactly and that is there is this line, it's not a rigid line, in other words it moves a lot, not just by simple fitness level, but other things factor in.

This line is not seen if you simply overdo it, usually that is from going way over the line. But in my experience I'm somewhat intrigued by going up to that line and just cross it a little. This is not only a cardio thing, you can also do it with weightlifting. You can lift a certain heavy weight, say @ 10 reps, but if you keep upping the weight by, say, 10lb increments you get to a point where your reps just go away. Then if you start reducing the weight by small increments you will eventually get to a point where it just feels easy, meaning you can do 10+ reps real easy, but again if you just add a measly 10lbs you're back to struggling to do just one.

And of course this also applies to other things, like running; I can run a fairly quick 5-mile course at X-pace per mile and at the end I feel fine. However, if I just try and up that pace by reducing my pace per mile by just a few seconds, it's a completely different run and I feel like I need more recovery time. That line is very fine.





The second scenario the OP's experience reminds me of is when I get into a routine, where I do almost the exact same thing day-after-day; again this can either be a cardio thing or with weights.

I find that after a long time of doing this routine my body gets very efficient at doing this activity, but then boredom starts to set in and that's when I plateau and after hitting this point it starts getting harder and harder to complete this routine, not because I'm overdoing it, but because I'm getting bored. And then if I all of a sudden change it up one day, it's like I get a surge of energy and color comes back into view, vice the dull gray days of arduously boring routines...



I think a lot of people that workout, say after making a New Year's resolution with themselves, are not able to keep up with it more because of the routine aspect of working out. Routines are good for a while, especially for building a base, but you got to change it up after a while. I still get into routines and start getting bored, but then I remember that I need to change it up. Always give yourself a new challenge, my latest is training to do various gymnastics exercises on the rings, including the iron cross. Incredibly tough thing to do.

Drybones
11-04-2013, 17:30
I'd go stark raving mad. :)

+1....it would take some mighty cute company to keep me camped with that much daylight left.

aficion
11-04-2013, 18:25
+1....it would take some mighty cute company to keep me camped with that much daylight left.

The natural world is the cutest company I can imagine. We are only a small branch of it. It always strikes me as mass psychosis to observe the customary paradigm that there is the natural world...and then there is us. I am as much a part of the natural world as a fish, or an oak. Yet the paradigm is ubiquitous. I don't get it.

Braves#6
11-04-2013, 18:36
Maybe you're better off with a 10-K pace instead of a marathon pace?

russb
11-04-2013, 19:36
I am an early riser so often I am hiking before the sun rises. I have found that a nice long siesta after lunch allows me to hike much longer. It is almost like the afternoon is another day of hiking. If I am doing long days, not speed hiking, it is 6-7 hours of then noonish siesta for at least an hour or two. Afternoon hiking for another 4 hours. In summer this gives me tons of in -camp time in the evening. As others mentioned, not all trips are done for big miles. My hiking style changes for the trip.

Meriadoc
11-04-2013, 20:13
. . .
I say all that to say this: Have you ever noticed that you can actually go as far by hiking less each day than if you hike as far as you physically can day in and day out.
. . .

Yes, I have noticed that. And it took me a long time to see it. I had to eat crow too.

But I saw it in a different manner: rigidly pushing for miles ended up dropping my average mileage. Letting the daily mileage simply float and flow increased my average miles per day. The too long story goes thusly:

On my first long distance trip I thought I had to go 15-18 miles every day on a rigid schedule. I mercilessly made fun of my partner's planned schedule that alternated long and short days, something similar to 10 and 25, because I thought it wouldn't work. I ran myself into the ground mentally (not physically) by forcing myself to make at least 15 miles each day even when I didn't want to. I also ran her into the ground mentally because we decided to follow my schedule. (Note to future thrus: this is NOT how you hike with a partner. Take care of both parties - even if each agrees to hike one partner's hike.)

Much later on I let the trail and my feelings dictate mileage instead of scheduling mileage. Sure enough, I ended up alternating long days and short days and increasing my average miles per day. I felt bad for giving my partner grief about her proposed schedule since I ended up following it!

hikerboy57
11-04-2013, 20:47
i find i hike farther when i dont worry about the miles.

Malto
11-04-2013, 20:50
(Non hiking activities deleted from the quote.)

Uhm, me too. But I'm slow.

My personal Naismith Rule is 30 minutes to the mile, add 40-45 minutes for a thousand feet of elevation change. So for the weekend that I mentioned, 14-16 miles and 5000 feet up/5000 feet down, that was 7-8 hours for the distance and add another 6.5-7.5 hours for the climbing and descent. I got a late start on the Saturday, and most of the climbing was on the Sunday, so the second day was a little bit longer than your pattern. (9.5 miles and about 8500 feet of elevation change = 10-11 hours, and that was about how long it took me.)

Are all the high-milers just that much faster than me, or on easier trails, or what?

Based on your numbers above I would say that most "high-milers" are going both faster and longer than you. I have hiked with many folks that can maintain close to 3mph all day in all but the most extreme terrain. And they can do it all day which for them could be 10-14 hours (or occasionally longer.) but they also enjoy being on the move, something that probably isn't appealing to the vast majority of hikers.

Dogwood
11-04-2013, 23:00
I find I hike further overall if I don't max out my mileage. I can do 25-30 MPD if I push it, but it eventually catches up.

I do around 22-25 MPD, I can consistently do that type of day seemingly forever.


That's it exactly...

No surprise. The two of you are regular long distance hikers who regularly complete their intended hikes. You've learned to listen, observe, adjust and mange wisely. It's what it takes to happily achieve the routine success you have in your hikes.

Marta
11-04-2013, 23:19
I plan hours per day rather than miles per day. Eight or nine hours of steady effort, with fifteen minute breaks every two hours, is a level of effort I can recover from pretty completely during a night's sleep. How far I get in eight hours depends on terrain, fitness, and pack weight. At worst, in difficult terrain (lots of blowdowns with the branches frozen to the ground by an ice storm) I've done as little as 8 miles. In easy terrain I might go 24 miles. I doubt I'll ever be doing the Ray Jardine thing of hiking 14 or 15 hours a day. Though it might be interesting to try for a few days.

Dogwood
11-04-2013, 23:36
Yeah, I'm more of that way overall too Malto. 14 hrs a day or 16 hrs out of every 24 I can do day after day after day with no physical breakdown 10 days at a time once in thru-hiker mode, NOW - Not when I first started long distance hiking! But, there really is no set way I rut myself into when it comes to pace or MPDs or what I do during a day. Lots of it has to do with knowing yourself at the current moment and adjusting as you evolve as a hiker or on a long distance hike. I know I'm out there for the long haul not to be a shotgun hiker. I really try staying in the moment. It's not in my nature to easily quit. I'm there to happily complete what I start out to do.

Gray Blazer
11-04-2013, 23:40
10-K. I think you have the answer and the best idea to get more miles in a day. Get an early start

map man
11-05-2013, 01:13
I have a frequent hiking partner who is not in great shape -- he leads a pretty sedentary life outside of hiking and smokes a pack a day. When I am hiking with him I keep the daily average miles to around 12 a day. I have to plan for some recovery breaks during the day (he needs them) and need to keep in mind that no matter when I get up in the morning by the time I eat breakfast and pack up I will always have to experience an hour of "waiting for Dave" time. This is often exasperating at the beginning of a hiking trip but I usually cope with it better as the days go by. On a recent week long hike in northern Minnesota with Dave I found that by the last full day of the hike I was feeling like quite the hiking machine and felt like I could have continued on hiking for days and weeks to come.

I contrast this with my solo hikes. When planning my solo trips I think to myself, "thank God I don't have to be shackled by others' limitations and can hike all the miles I want." And then I do just that. I hike at what feels like my natural pace and hike longer hours with less frequent breaks. And by the time my one or two week hike is done I am thoroughly tired of hiking! I've usually managed to get wretchedly foot-sore and wonder why I ever took up this backpacking business as a hobby!

So I guess what I'm saying is that even after many years of backpacking when I hike solo my hiking-miles-per-day governor is revving at too high a rate. I could definitely benefit by throttling back a little, just as you suggest in this thread. It's a matter of finding the discipline to do it. Since you do the majority of your hiking solo, 10-K, you can appreciate why I still enjoy hiking solo despite my pacing difficulties, and I look forward on my next solo hike to try to put into practice the "slightly less is more" philosophy and see if it helps.

JAK
11-05-2013, 03:02
A good guideline might be whatever pace and distance and regime that has you finishing the hike fittest, physically, mentally, spiritually. We might also consider more nero and zero days on the trail rather than off the trail. Not sure about the finish though. If you end up some place like a state park, plenty of good camp sites to take a rest and recovery day before rejoining the rat race. If you end up at a trail head on the side of a road, maybe not.

JAK
11-05-2013, 03:13
I think we need a formal definition of Zero Days, and Nero Days.
Zero Days should involve no forward progress down the trail, but might involve a scenic side trail.
Nero Days might involve persecution of Christians and playing your favourite music while cities burn.

10-K
11-05-2013, 08:29
I think we need a formal definition of Zero Days, and Nero Days.
Zero Days should involve no forward progress down the trail, but might involve a scenic side trail.
Nero Days might involve persecution of Christians and playing your favourite music while cities burn.

Yeah... kinda like the confusion around what "stealth camping" means.

3 days of the hike I just completed I was off the trail completely before noon. I call those neros.

I honestly don't think I've taken a complete zero since 2010 when I finished the AT but that would mean 24 hours with no hiking.

Right?

Just Bill
11-05-2013, 10:03
Shamwow- careful what you ask for. But I believe Ecclesiastes 9:11 is in your language young lady.
10-K- Nice hike young man!

The fable of the tortoise is a good lesson for sure- but not as black and white as some make out. Youíll find many fine members of the club like Mags, Malto and Garlic to talk to. The trick to the high mileage turtle is to spend a good amount of time being the hare. They can speak for themselves but Iím fairly sure most of them have spent time going fast before learning to go steady; sounds like you too 10-K.

I frequently find myself in Map Manís situation; and found that applying hard numbers to my MPD helps avoid the hareís trap. Itís hard to apply Long distance attitude and discipline (or freedom) to shorter trips. Maltoís rule of thumb is the best Iíve found- train at 150% of your desired pace (be the hare) then travel steady at your chosen pace for the best long term results. Your numbers bear that out as well. Your 28 MPD normal max is 133% of your comfy 21 MPD pace. A full 150% of your 21 MPD pace puts you at a 31.5 single day pace, which I imagine you can hit.

Letís say you hike LW style like I used to. Seven hours at 3MPH put me at an easy low 20mpd pace that varied a bit with terrain. But I eventually learned that the tortoise lesson applied to hours per day and MPH as well. In fact the inverse of Maltoís formula works well. Hours per day and MPH at maximum DIVIDED by 150%= equals hours hiked at turtle pace, and the MPH needed to hold that pace. So either way; 7hours x 3mph = 21mpd, or 2mph x 10.5hours=21MPD. The tortoise equals the hare at middle distances.

Except for the fact that the hare is wiped after seven hours and in this example needs to hit the bar and update his ďithingyĒ while the tortoise has dinner and hikes a few more hours because heís been running at low throttle all day. If the hare tried to continue heíd fall victim to the aforementioned law of diminishing returns; now the tortoise beats the hare when the race gets longer.

One word of caution- your frequent town stops/resupply on this particular trip may have been a boost to your mileage too. There were critics of this before but I am still fairly happy with my formula- five pounds =1 hour. Removing say two days of food at roughly five pounds by frequent resupply allows you to hike an additional hour per day. The lighter pack may have slightly inflated your mileages by 2-3 MPD- not a big deal but something to consider. (The extra town time probably didnít hurt either.)

Your goals affect the formula. (Speed is not required)

Like Storm and others who commented- your goal may simply be to travel comfortably day after day. The mental part of speed hiking. Learn your natural speed, comfy hours per day and apply tortoise speed to them. Nothing wrong with this goal- it is the fundamental principal of the Ray Way. Lighten your shell (gear), find your maximum- travel at 2/3rds. Wipe the trail with all the bunnies to silly to take it easy. Ray never taught speed hiking- he teaches how to hike efficiently- once you learn that lessonÖ.

You may find yourself like Malto. Your goal being to complete a fast hike of the PCT- then you need to spend your time training to be the hare- so that your turtle numbers come in at the pace you are looking for. The physical part of speed hiking is about learning to make a faster turtle. When youíre training you train to be the hare, when you hike you put back on your shell and travel well.

If your goal is to break a record, personal or public, then you must master efficiency. (I donít claim to have done so, letís just say I read a lot of books about fecal production and call this an opinion.) The law of diminishing returns must be accepted and then broken. It holds up well in some circles but tends to fall into the guideline rather than law category when applied to the trail. Think like an entrepreneur. But we can discuss that another time.
I donít think it matters what you call it, or how many miles per day you ultimately travel. Itís about efficiency; effortless travel. Iím a bit more with Dogwood. After the physical parts of the hike are handled- your gear, maximum speed and hiking pace are sorted out then you start to look elsewhere. You certainly donít have to. Beyond the physical though there are other things to consider, a balance to maintain.

But this is long past the time where my words are welcome. Itís horrendously difficult to describe putting an effort into making something effortless. While this may not seem like it, this is my answer to the question you asked. Itís worth noticing; youíre certainly not the last to figure it out. As others have mentioned- an effortless walk can not only continue on- but leave you feeling more whole when you return home.

My long trail trip report is about that balance between the physical, mental, intellectual, and spiritual components of hiking. Itís hard- I see it and understand it, but certainly havenít mastered it. Thankfully Iím not crusty; and neither are you- best of luck!

AK- ďAre all the high-milers just that much faster than me, or on easier trails, or what?Ē
Faster- a bit (2.25-2.5 mph), easier trails- often, or what- as you mentioned, your focus is more about the balance- less about the backpacking. 10-K called it; you spend your hours elsewhere. Weíre just walking towards the same center from opposite directions. Itís just as hard to truly sit still for two hours as it is to move fast. That said, nothing wrong with walking another path on the wheel every once in awhile, you may find new ways to connect, or at the very least enhance the connections you make now.

DW-A quote you may like-
Luke- I canít believe it.
Yoda- That is why you fail.
See ya around fella.

hikerboy57
11-05-2013, 10:11
its the second mouse that gets the cheese

Another Kevin
11-05-2013, 10:12
I contrast this with my solo hikes. When planning my solo trips I think to myself, "thank God I don't have to be shackled by others' limitations and can hike all the miles I want." And then I do just that. I hike at what feels like my natural pace and hike longer hours with less frequent breaks. And by the time my one or two week hike is done I am thoroughly tired of hiking! I've usually managed to get wretchedly foot-sore and wonder why I ever took up this backpacking business as a hobby!

It wouldn't even have to be a slow hiker to make you feel shackled, because everyone goes slower in a group. A group can't go any faster than the slowest hiker, and in fact always goes slower than the slowest hiker, because even the slowpoke occasionally has to wait for someone. The speed demons occasionally need to take a Deuteronomy 23:13 break or whatever.

I think that 10-K's observation applies even to slowpokes like me. My usual hiking speed is 'snail'. If I kick it up to 'tortoise' out of pride or out of a desire not to be the guy holding the group back, that seems to be a sure way to cut my miles-per-day to zero at some point. It's even harder to keep a sustainable pace when everyone is waiting for you than it is to throttle back when you're solo. That's why I dislike most club outings - I''m always under pressure to move fast enough to get hurt. I like going with a few friends or solo. (Solo, I find myself playing leapfrog with university clubs all the time. I'll overtake them at stops, they'll blow by me on the trail, I'll overtake them at their next stop, ... all day long.)

Namtrag
11-05-2013, 10:20
I haven't yet figured out how some people hike so fast. Even when I walk just short of breaking into a jog, I still only manage 2.5 mph on flat ground. I must take really small steps.

Just Bill
11-05-2013, 10:31
I haven't yet figured out how some people hike so fast. Even when I walk just short of breaking into a jog, I still only manage 2.5 mph on flat ground. I must take really small steps.

. Cadence

10-K
11-05-2013, 10:47
I think that 10-K's observation applies even to slowpokes like me.

Absolutely. The point is that I can hike just as far with much less pain and recovery time by stopping a few miles before I have to....

johnnybgood
11-05-2013, 11:16
My own observation allows for an average day hike of 15-18 miles . The addition my means of subtraction hypnosis only applies when hiking alone on successive days where I am on the trail by sunrise , therefore hiking more miles .

Dogwood
11-05-2013, 11:53
WB TV - hiking entertainment. I have to read those 10 Steps to being a Minimalist again, especially Step 8. I feel like I'm in a HA(Hikers Anonymous) meeting.

Mags
11-05-2013, 13:08
Rather than a tortoise, I see myself as pack mule: Able to keep a consistent, steady pace in all kinds of terrain and weather without tiring.(Or maybe I am just a jackass? )

Not slow, but not a race horse either. As I love to go off trail and can shoulder more pack weight when needed for more technical pursuits, I really like that analogy. :)

Fun fact: The Roman legions were able to hike a consistent 18 MPD (adjusting for modern measurement) in about ~6 hrs (again, adjust for modern time keeping) while schlepping 60lbs and THEN building a fortification for the evening. Obviously, different terrain would change the equation, but still pretty impressive.

They did it by being consistent and disciplined as opposed to being fast.

Dogwood
11-05-2013, 13:15
They did it by being consistent and disciplined as opposed to being fast. it's just walkin.:) All for the glory of Rome.

Mags
11-05-2013, 13:22
They did it by being consistent and disciplined as opposed to being fast. it's just walkin.:) All for the glory of Rome.

SPQR

It's just marching.

Astro
11-05-2013, 13:36
SPQR

It's just marching.

They probably had the cadence part down.

Another Kevin
11-05-2013, 14:18
Even I could probably do 18 miles in 6 hours (don't know about the 60 pound pack, though :eek:) on a Roman road. The Romans built very good roads.

bfayer
11-05-2013, 14:37
They probably had the cadence part down.

They also had an NCO (Optio) at the back with a sharp sword to keep the troops moving. It was not hike your own hike.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk

Coffee
11-05-2013, 14:46
They also had an NCO (Optio) at the back with a sharp sword to keep the troops moving. It was not hike your own hike.

The Romans also decimated their ranks as a form of discipline wherein one man in a group selected for punishment would draw an unlucky lot and then face execution by stoning at the hands of his nine comrades. It is quite fascinating actually http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decimation_%28Roman_army%29.

Mags
11-05-2013, 15:39
Even I could probably do 18 miles in 6 hours (don't know about the 60 pound pack, though :eek:) on a Roman road. The Romans built very good roads.

..and build a fortification. And then repeat? :)

ps. I said "pack". That is a little misleading. More like equipment since they didn't really use packs back then.


In a jiff (from what I read), the legions could max out at 24 MPD and carry even more weight, but with diminishing returns.

Guess the whole point is that a steady pace will let you accomplish more in the long term than going all out.

Look at the Maryland Challenge (http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=257886). People do it, but then take a recovery day or two. Those cranking out 25 MPD actually end up getting ahead.

Not saying people can' hike 40 MPD consistently, but it takes training to get to that level as well.

Drybones
11-05-2013, 20:54
I returned last week from doing the Pearisburg to Harpers Ferry section and was thinking the same thing on my drive back to AL, hike less to hike more. I did this 387 mile section in 22 days and lost 14 lbs in the process. The goal each day was to hike 20+ miles, longest day was 28 miles, shortest was 3 miles, thought I may be developing an illness from carrying a summer sausage too long and went into Front Royal for a day to let it pass. I can handle this pace for 3-4 weeks but would at that point would run out of energy reserves. The next trip out I may try sleeping late and doing 16 or so miles per day and see how much the weight loss/energy loss is reduced, I'm thinking I could keep this pace indefinitely.

Malto
11-05-2013, 22:08
I returned last week from doing the Pearisburg to Harpers Ferry section and was thinking the same thing on my drive back to AL, hike less to hike more. I did this 387 mile section in 22 days and lost 14 lbs in the process. The goal each day was to hike 20+ miles, longest day was 28 miles, shortest was 3 miles, thought I may be developing an illness from carrying a summer sausage too long and went into Front Royal for a day to let it pass. I can handle this pace for 3-4 weeks but would at that point would run out of energy reserves. The next trip out I may try sleeping late and doing 16 or so miles per day and see how much the weight loss/energy loss is reduced, I'm thinking I could keep this pace indefinitely.

What are finding is the next breaking point. Increase your calories per day and you could likely sustain that pace for much longer. I was eating 6000-8000 calories per day doing a 30+ mpd average for over 1500 miles.

Just Bill
11-05-2013, 22:13
What are finding is the next breaking point. Increase your calories per day and you could likely sustain that pace for much longer. I was eating 6000-8000 calories per day doing a 30+ mpd average for over 1500 miles.

+1 to that- if you made it 22 days the pace wasn't what burned you out. Although sleeping in is always nice:)

Wise Old Owl
11-05-2013, 22:25
I come here to rest up between hikes mostly now myself. Not quite ready to retire into "White Blaze Assisted Living"....


Sometimes you can scare the hell out of an owl at Halloween.

Dogwood
11-05-2013, 22:49
"I haven't yet figured out how some people hike so fast." What have you got to say about that Rocketsocks.

I was thinking caffeine, something about a Grizzly bear giving chase, Zombies, my ex wanting more in alimony, that ticket I ignored paying, etc

wornoutboots
11-05-2013, 23:38
I'd go stark raving mad. :)
I'm the same way, To mbe it's about seeing what's around the next corner! I don't do well sitting around twiddling my thumbs for hours in camp.

Pedaling Fool
11-06-2013, 16:44
I can relate to this on two fronts from personal experience and it's not just a simple matter of overdoing it.

The first scenario is kind of like overdoing it, but not exactly and that is there is this line, it's not a rigid line, in other words it moves a lot, not just by simple fitness level, but other things factor in.

This line is not seen if you simply overdo it, usually that is from going way over the line. But in my experience I'm somewhat intrigued by going up to that line and just cross it a little. This is not only a cardio thing, you can also do it with weightlifting. You can lift a certain heavy weight, say @ 10 reps, but if you keep upping the weight by, say, 10lb increments you get to a point where your reps just go away. Then if you start reducing the weight by small increments you will eventually get to a point where it just feels easy, meaning you can do 10+ reps real easy, but again if you just add a measly 10lbs you're back to struggling to do just one.

And of course this also applies to other things, like running; I can run a fairly quick 5-mile course at X-pace per mile and at the end I feel fine. However, if I just try and up that pace by reducing my pace per mile by just a few seconds, it's a completely different run and I feel like I need more recovery time. That line is very fine.





The second scenario the OP's experience reminds me of is when I get into a routine, where I do almost the exact same thing day-after-day; again this can either be a cardio thing or with weights.

I find that after a long time of doing this routine my body gets very efficient at doing this activity, but then boredom starts to set in and that's when I plateau and after hitting this point it starts getting harder and harder to complete this routine, not because I'm overdoing it, but because I'm getting bored. And then if I all of a sudden change it up one day, it's like I get a surge of energy and color comes back into view, vice the dull gray days of arduously boring routines...



I think a lot of people that workout, say after making a New Year's resolution with themselves, are not able to keep up with it more because of the routine aspect of working out. Routines are good for a while, especially for building a base, but you got to change it up after a while. I still get into routines and start getting bored, but then I remember that I need to change it up. Always give yourself a new challenge, my latest is training to do various gymnastics exercises on the rings, including the iron cross. Incredibly tough thing to do.
I just thought of another scenario that the op's experience reminded me of as I was in my garden...but now it's gone; I completely forgot :mad:

Maybe it'll comeback during my run. :sun



But another thought I had as I was watching a triathlon, is that professional endurance athletes must know this line very well, because they must center their entire performance around it; they must be both the tortoise and the hare, the winners are the ones that can best balance these two performance characteristics and know when keep a nice pace and when to break out the hare.

A lot of people seem to be fixating on the daily mileage, but I see this more of knowing one's line and how much you can get away with crossing it and when NOT to cross it. I think I have a pretty good handle on that, personally, but since this line is mobile, sometimes very mobile, I still screw it up and guess I always will.

Especially when there's a bunch of scantily clad babes on the beach:D

moytoy
11-07-2013, 09:04
I am stark raving mad. I do both, regularly. Night hike too. I can sit and watch the grass grow for hours and be happy as a clam. Next day I might not want to sit still or stop at the end of the day. Part of the joy of being out there is being able to switch things up, whether for good reason, or just on a whim. You learn to use, and trust, your gut, especially if you don't filter or treat.
Have you ever thought about starting your own religion? I'm drinkin your coolaid:)

Drybones
11-07-2013, 09:17
The Romans also decimated their ranks as a form of discipline wherein one man in a group selected for punishment would draw an unlucky lot and then face execution by stoning at the hands of his nine comrades. It is quite fascinating actually http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decimation_%28Roman_army%29.

Sounds like a good way to motivate group hikes.

Drybones
11-07-2013, 09:25
What are finding is the next breaking point. Increase your calories per day and you could likely sustain that pace for much longer. I was eating 6000-8000 calories per day doing a 30+ mpd average for over 1500 miles.

If I could find that much food to eat on the trail, dont know if I could carry it or have the time to eat it. I do agree with your comment tho, with adequate fuel intake I could keep going.

Just Bill
11-07-2013, 10:40
If I could find that much food to eat on the trail, dont know if I could carry it or have the time to eat it. I do agree with your comment tho, with adequate fuel intake I could keep going.
There's a reason his name is Malto- http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?99080-How-the-heck-do-you-eat-5000-calories-a-day The stuff works and somewhere around 3-4k calories it's hard to get it all down without a large amount in liquid form.

It doesn't have to break your back either, I'm at around 5500 calories at roughly 2.5 lbs per day. Check out the oatmeal too- the post wasn't about the best breakfast- but about the best high calorie, compact, nutritious, and tasty combo I've found. http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?99078-The-best-breakfast-ever!

There were good responses from folks in both those threads too. If you asked me five years ago what the hardest thing about high mileage long distance hiking was I would not have said food- but I think it really is. I think as more people discover light gear and Ray Way style tactics they will find that food is the last frontier.

CarlZ993
11-07-2013, 12:44
What are finding is the next breaking point. Increase your calories per day and you could likely sustain that pace for much longer. I was eating 6000-8000 calories per day doing a 30+ mpd average for over 1500 miles.
Malto - That was some serious calories you were carrying. What helped you boost the calories that high?

Malto
11-07-2013, 13:39
Malto - That was some serious calories you were carrying. What helped you boost the calories that high?

This will give you some idea of the calories. But here is a typical day.
1) Breakfast normal hiker breakfast like Poptarts averaging 500 calories.
2) during the day. 300 calories per hour alternated between Malto and calories as seen in this picture. For a 14 hour day that is about 3600 calories HEAVILY loaded with carbs.
3) lunch. PNB and tortillas every day. I ate copious amounts of PNB and lunch was likely 1000-1500 calories. Also included that hours 300 calorie drip. The intent of this food is to give my body fat and protein which is low in the "during the day food."
4) dinner. 800-1200 calories that usually was eaten a couple hours before stopping. (Usually replaced an hours 300 calorie drip)
5) supplemental. At the days end I would eat as much food as I could to give my body food to digest at night. That may add another 800 calories +/- 500.

Total I was eating in the 6000-8000 calorie range and the upper end of that range the second half. My weight remained constant for the last 1500 miles. Here is more on the actual food. http://postholer.com/journal/viewJournal.php?sid=ba58cc232283a11f6d1698f5ea64f9 e5&entry_id=19691

Many may say "how do you carry all that food?" Leaving town, my food weight was heavier than my gear weight (8 lb.) something it was double the gear weight and double the volume of my gear. But the nice thing was that you have an incentive to eat more, it reduces your pack weight.

this picture was a three day carry out of Ashland. It was in addition to the mail drop I picked up a day later with dinners and Malto. I also average 34 mpd for that state so I was burning about 7000 per day.
24748

CarlZ993
11-07-2013, 13:52
This will give you some idea of the calories. But here is a typical day.
1) Breakfast normal hiker breakfast like Poptarts averaging 500 calories.
2) during the day. 300 calories per hour alternated between Malto and calories as seen in this picture. For a 14 hour day that is about 3600 calories HEAVILY loaded with carbs.
3) lunch. PNB and tortillas every day. I ate copious amounts of PNB and lunch was likely 1000-1500 calories. Also included that hours 300 calorie drip. The intent of this food is to give my body fat and protein which is low in the "during the day food."
4) dinner. 800-1200 calories that usually was eaten a couple hours before stopping. (Usually replaced an hours 300 calorie drip)
5) supplemental. At the days end I would eat as much food as I could to give my body food to digest at night. That may add another 800 calories +/- 500.

Total I was eating in the 6000-8000 calorie range and the upper end of that range the second half. My weight remained constant for the last 1500 miles. Here is more on the actual food. http://postholer.com/journal/viewJournal.php?sid=ba58cc232283a11f6d1698f5ea64f9 e5&entry_id=19691

Many may say "how do you carry all that food?" Leaving town, my food weight was heavier than my gear weight (8 lb.) something it was double the gear weight and double the volume of my gear. But the nice thing was that you have an incentive to eat more, it reduces your pack weight.

this picture was a three day carry out of Ashland. It was in addition to the mail drop I picked up a day later with dinners and Malto. I also average 34 mpd for that state so I was burning about 7000 per day.
24748
Thanks for the info...

Ox97GaMe
11-12-2013, 00:45
I try to be on the trail no later than half hour after sunrise. I like to hike until about an hour before dark. I take a 15 minute break every 2 hrs, take a 1-2 hr break for lunch, take a 1-2 hr dinner break, then hike until I find a place to camp. When I am in shape, in the summer, I can get in a 30 mile day pretty regularly. In the winter, I get in about 18 miles.

The main thing is to find your sustainable pace. Then its a matter of hiking hours you spend in a given day.

The Cleaner
11-12-2013, 08:11
I'd only get up at 4:30 or 5 if my tent or house was on fire....

fredmugs
11-13-2013, 11:58
I try to be on the trail no later than half hour after sunrise. I like to hike until about an hour before dark. I take a 15 minute break every 2 hrs, take a 1-2 hr break for lunch, take a 1-2 hr dinner break, then hike until I find a place to camp. When I am in shape, in the summer, I can get in a 30 mile day pretty regularly. In the winter, I get in about 18 miles.

The main thing is to find your sustainable pace. Then its a matter of hiking hours you spend in a given day.

I mostly do this but I can't go that long without a break. When I started I was probably doing 3 MPH and I found that I needed to stop often (had to push for 45 minutes of hiking between breaks). When I backed my pace down to around 2.5 MPH I can go a lot longer between breaks and get more miles in by the end of the day. My strategy now is attack the climbs, cruise on the flats, and baby my knees on the descents.

squeezebox
11-13-2013, 14:03
This is endurance athletics. So train properly and you'll be healthier and more comfortable. Somebody said it's being the tortoise and the hare both. Yes, exactly. So go out and do some long miles on the weekends, a good endurance base, But also do some speed work. There's a big hill in my neighbor hood, I can go fast uphill and slow down hill. Doing that a few times a week will improve my speed and endurance both. Did about the same thing when I raced bicycles, long miles , and speed work both. Made me a better rider, same thing will make me a better hiker.