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  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by kayak karl View Post
    i think you're over thinking not over thinking it
    Let me think about that. You're right KK. I can do exactly as you said. But, can we discuss it?

  2. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by Malto View Post
    I know that my pace has picked up over time. A couple of keys.
    1) Fitness. When your uphill, downhills and flat sections are all about the same speed then your in great shape. One thing that I have noticed about world class hikers is their uphills are all relatively fast.
    2) Downhill Techniques. When I hiked with swami on an AT section he amazed me at his natural downhill speed. it was all in technique, something that I have not mastered.
    3) stepping long not short. on rough terrain you have an option to avoid a rock, go long or short. The more you go long the faster your average speed.
    4) Practice walking fast. I normally walk quite fast but much of it came by practice. One treadmill routine I like to do is walk 4.5mph and slowly increase the elevation. I believe this will increase your average speed.

    Speed along with minimizing break and long hiking hours all combine to allow longer miles if that your thing. For those like me that love to walk then this makes for a great day!
    Agree with all of this especially #1. When half of your day is spent walking up hill, you can't afford to average 1.5mph (assuming your striving for records or big miles). JPD averaged right at 3mph over her whole hike - 3mph up hills consistently is very difficult without fitness.... The other half of your day is spent downhill. You better have good technique so that you can walk 3-4mph without grinding your knees and feet into powder.


    Ryan

  3. #63

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    Just B, are you saying that it is better to try land flat footed rather a heel strike first when walking? I been trying that and it seems to help keep that leaning forward style easier and my knees more bent and more engaged rather than landing stiff legged with a heel strike.
    In the end I'll probably go back to my casual walk but it's interesting to try different methods.

  4. #64

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    Yes, you have to actually practice walking fast, and build up to it. Even fast runners often cannot walk fast, as shown when they are taking a walk break in marathons and ultras. Typically the road runners are the slow walkers because they don't practice; ultra runners tend to be very fast & strong walkers because it is part of ultra events to do a lot of walking.
    With fitness, you can walk fast (4 mph) and strong with a pack if the trail is reasonably easy. But it takes a lot of work to get up to this level of fitness…a few weeks minimum for most people. And some never can do it.

  5. #65
    Registered User Just Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dangerdave View Post
    It's too much for me. I've got far too many other concerns to nerd out of my gate. Come April 1st, I'll be hefting my 25 pound pack, take up my poles, and walk to Katahdin. I'll start out slow, and pick up my pace as I get my legs. I'll grabs some food and supplies along the way, or dropped to me by my lovely wife. I'll take some zero days to chill and recover, hopefully meet some strange/interesting/perplexing people, and have a good time of it all.

    The grams and the gate and the philosophy of it all are none of my concern. I'm walking north...
    And a hearty "best of luck" to you. Seriously.
    One thing is certain- walking 2200 miles with a pack will be all the instruction you likely need.

    Although, one notes, you may consider revising the quote in your signature.

    Enjoy your hike Dave!

  6. #66
    Registered User Just Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chair-man View Post
    Just B, are you saying that it is better to try land flat footed rather a heel strike first when walking? I been trying that and it seems to help keep that leaning forward style easier and my knees more bent and more engaged rather than landing stiff legged with a heel strike.
    In the end I'll probably go back to my casual walk but it's interesting to try different methods.
    Yar, Natty Bumpo will beat Pegleg Pete any day.
    It's not so much that I am saying it, just that many fine folks, living and long passed that I admire have said it before me, and I echo their voice.

    If nothing else, from a SUL perspective;
    As each foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles and tendons, it seems a bit wasteful to carry all that stuff around and not use it.
    And wither it's The Magic Fella in the sky, evolution, science or something else, I like to think we are made that way for a reason.

    Like anything else though- it's harder before it's better. Waking up all those bits and pieces takes time and a bit of work not likely to be pleasant the first season of use.

    And while my Pappy ain't too far wrong, in going from 3MPH or so to 4MPH or so is a fair difference. As his spreadsheet is not available, I will pass along that mine indicates that is a 33% increase in speed. There are other variables to be sure, but I find this technique far more useful than anything else, especially when mileage per day is the benchmark of measurement.

    Between you and me- I wouldn't be surprised to find the bearded busch light drinker to walk in much the same way.

  7. #67
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    I average 3.2 miles per hour over rocky and steep terrain. Here's how I do it. First, on the flat sections, make sure you rotate your hips. You will get about an extra 6 inches per stride.

    When going uphill lean forward, and crouch slightly. Then use your leg extension to push while keeping the ankle at a ninety degree angle. At the end of your extension, rotate your ankle to complete the push. This technique uses less energy since your body is more horizontal than vertical.

    To travel downhill, lean slightly back and keep your feet in front of you. This technique gives you just enough time to recover from a trip. Falling forward while going downhill can be rather messy.

    I finished a solo 50k on the AT last week that included several 1000 foot climbs. It took 10 hours with one break.

    Hop from rock to rock using your ankles to push you.

    I have Multiple Sclerosis. 8 years ago I could barely walk. These techniques have proved incredibly beneficial and I hope you find them useful.

  8. #68
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    Impressive walk for a totally healthy person, even more so that you're walking with MS. Your tips for going uphill sound spot on to me, I find keeping my ankles in extension and my posture slightly forward helps a lot. Also training cardio, and lower body exercises like squats and deadlift.

    I'm curious, do you use poles? Also, which stretch did you hike?

  9. #69

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    In 1974 I met NOBO thru hikers Blair Orr (and another man) who told me that they were experimenting with walking at 4 mph. This was on ridgetops in PA. So I tried it too (I was 17, carrying a big Kelty frame pack). It seemed like flying compared to the more regular 2 mph, but took a big toll on the body. After weeks of practice I was able to do it (I still can). Made the miles fly by, and made it possible to do bigger miles in a day. Just wanted to relate that story from 41 years ago...

  10. #70

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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Bill View Post
    Walking in snow and ice will force you to learn to walk with good posture.
    Good point Just Bill - I did a bunch of peak bagging this winter, some in snowshoes and some in microspikes. Now that the snow is melting I feel like the experience really helped my stride and balance, as well as pace on the trail.

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Bill View Post
    This is a subject upon which I have very strong opinions, so forgive me in advance or walk by this post at your preferred speed.

    Dogwood-"BTW, if you ever get the opportunity to watch someone like Andrew, Jen, Scott Williams, or even a very seasoned efficient long distance hiker particularly when they don't know you're watching notice how they flow, hike so efficiently, almost float/glide just above the ground, and on focused purpose. My goodness it's magical watching a Skurka in the zone. I've learned much by just watching what I consider efficient hikers."

    Pedaling Fool-"just put in the miles"

    Lone Wolf (paraphrased)- "Why are you carrying ski poles, ain't no snow"

    Malto, I have never had the privilege of watching Swami walk, something I would value more than meeting him. Perhaps though, simply said, he is better at falling than the rest of us. Something simple to say, but quite hard to master.

    A simple observation of the trail itself often reveals an insight- nearly all trails dedicated solely for walking take the form of singletrack, roughly 8-12" in width and only lightly tread on the edges. These trails are worn by those used to walking the woods, and wear with near balance beam precision. This image alone should influence any hiker who considers their motion. It is also the shape of any natural path cut by any being, be they two legged or four. When all the pieces are in place, walking flows like a small stream confined by its banks.

    Perhaps I give the fella more credit than he deserves, but in Lone Wolf's contrarian stance against hiking poles lies very solid advice. It is a different stride entirely, and not necessarily a good one. It is my belief that you should make every effort you can to learn to walk without them. While an experienced person like Skurka or JPD may choose to add them back in, they have the mileage in first. Matt Kirk and Scott Williamson- no poles. If they made sense, I would also like to imagine that generations of wisdom found in native peoples would have cut simple poles and taken them up if it was the more efficient motion. No matter your eventual preference, much can be gained in practicing without poles, barefoot, and walking on curbs or other balance beams found when strolling around.

    This is an in-exhaustible topic for me- so much so that if you like I am happy to send you the several chapters of an unfinished book if you care to read my words. It is my opinion that there is a way to flow in the woods. Speed hiking has never been about being fast for me, but being connected, flowing, and free. Speed is merely a byproduct of that equation, but has nothing to do with the inputs of that formula.

    But I will instead share here some quotes from folks who have greatly influenced my opinion and vastly improved my life-

    Starting with a fella who spent much time in your beloved Smokies, and in company with travelers White, Red, Yellow and somewhere in between;

    How to Walk.-
    There is somewhat the same difference between a townsman's and a woodsman's gait as there is between a soldier's and a sailor's. It is chiefly a difference of hip action, looseness of joints, and the manner of planting one's feet. The townsman's stride is an up-and-down knee action, with rather rigid hips, the toes pointing outward, and heels striking first. The carriage is erect, the movement springy and graceful, so long as one is walking over firm, level footing- but beware the banana-peel and the small boy's sliding-place! This is an ill-poised gait, because one's weight falls first upon the heel alone, and at that instant the walker has little command of his balance. It is an exhausting gait as soon as its normally short pace is lengthened by so much as an inch.

    A woodsman, on the contrary, walks with a rolling motion, his hips swaying an inch or more to the stepping side, and his pace is correspondingly long. This hip action may be noticed to an exaggerated degree in the stride of a professional pedestrian; but the latter walks with a heel and toe step, wheras an Indian's or sailor's step is more nearly flat footed. In the latter case the center of gravity is covered by the whole foot. The poise is as secure as that of a rope-walker. The toes are pointed straight forward, or even a trifle inward, so that the inside of the heel, the outside of the ball of the foot, and the smaller toes, all do their share of work and assist in balancing. Walking in this manner, one is not so likely, either, to trip over projecting roots, stones, and other traps, as he would be if the feet formed hooks by pointing outward.

    (A few paragraphs later) The woodsman walks with a springy knee action. There is "give" at every step, and in going down-hill the knees are bent a good deal, as they are when one carries a heavy burden. It is said of the Indian, "he does not walk, he glides." No Indian glides in boots, but put him in moccasins and the word does express his silent, rythmical, tireless, sure-footed progress, an admirable example of precision of movement and economy of effort. A white man acquires somewhat the same glide after getting used to moccasins, and especially after some experience on snowshoes, which compel him to walk with toes pointed straight ahead or a little inward.

    Over-Strain.-
    When carrying a pack on your back, do not over-exert yourself. Halt whenever your breathing is very labored or exertion becomes painful. Nobody who understands horses would think of driving them ahead when they show signs of distress, and there is quite as much common sense in treating yourself with the same consideration, if you want to travel far. Rig your pack at the start so it can be flung off whenever you sit down for a moment's rest; it pays. But don't halt more than three to five minutes. Long halts eat up daylight; they stiffen the muscles; and they cause chills and colds. Over-exertion is particularly disastrous in mountain climbing.

    Not only in marching but in other labors, go steadily but moderately. Do not chop to the point of exhaustion, nor strain yourself in lifting or carrying. A feat of "showing off" is poor compensation for a lame back.

    Horace Kephart


    "In walking though a primitive forest, an Indian or white woodsman can wear out a town-bred
    athlete, although the latter may be the stronger man. That is because a man who is used to walking in the woods has a knack of walking over uneven and slippery ground, edging though thickets, and worming his way amid fallen timber, with less fret and exertion than one who is accustomed to smooth, unobstructed paths."
    Horace Kephart, 1917 edition of Woodcraft

    "A controlled pace is not about speed or distance. Instead, it is about an absence of fatigue." Ray Jardine, Trail Life

    "One who is unused to long marches may get along pretty well the first day, but on the second morning it will seem as if he could not drag one foot after the other." Horace Kephart

    "If the Indian were turned to stone while in the act of stepping, the statue would probably stand balanced on one foot. … his steady balance enables him to put his moving foot down as gently as you would lay an egg on the table."
    H.G. Dulog- contemporary of Horace Kephart

    What's important isn't what part of the foot you strike but where it strikes. It should land slightly in front of your center of mass or right underneath it. When you have a high stride rate and land with the body centered over the foot, you won't be slamming down hard, even if you connect with the heel.
    Scott Jurek- "Eat and Run"

    "To run far, fast, or efficiently, you have to run with proper posture. Keep your shoulders back and your arms bent 45 degrees at the elbow. Allow your arms to swing freely, but don't let them cross the imaginary vertical line bisecting your body. This will create openness in the chest, better breathing, and more balance.

    Lean forward, but not at the hips. Imagine a rod running through your body from the head to the toes. Keep the rod at a slight forward angle to the ground, with a neutral pelvis. When the entire body participates, you're using gravity to your advantage. Remember, running is controlled falling."
    Scott Jurek- "Eat and Run"

    SPEED HIKING-
    Once in a great while all the aspects of walking come together, and then I have an hour or a day when I simply glide along, seemingly expending no energy. When this happens, distance melts under my feet, and I feel as though I could stride on forever. I can't force such moments and I don't know where they come from, but the more I walk, the more often they happen. Not surprisingly, they occur most often on really long treks. On these days, I've walked for five hours and twelve miles and more without a break, yet with such little effort that I don't realize how long and how far I've traveled until I finally stop. I never feel any effects afterward either, except perhaps, a greater feeling of well-being and contentment.
    Chris Townsend, “The Backpackers's Handbook”
    Wonderful summary, eternally valuable advice!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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