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  1. #1

    Default Training tips for ultra cyclist converting to backpacker??

    Could anyone please guide me to training advice (trying to convert myself from a cyclist to a somewhat speedy 62 year old backpacker)?

    I have good cardiovascular function from cycling but my muscles are developed all wrong for hiking or so it seems.

    I have ordered Liz Thomas' book, "Backpacker Long Trails: Mastering the Art of the Thru-Hike" and have done a lot of searches on WhiteBlaze but most just seem to suggest going to the gym, stretching, or yoga. I have read many AT blog posts and most seem not to prepare their bodies for the rigors. I am probably wrong but my experience with ultra distances on a bike tell me that strength work, stretching, and yoga won't be a ton of help on the trail. No substitute for actually hiking to prepare for hiking...?. Could be bias, I hate the gym. Maybe, I just have to hike and hike? I think picking gear is easy and highly personal, saying this because I do not have gear at all nor do I think it is all that important to success. 90-95% of it is the body and mind. I bet people could go from Ga to Maine with 70 pounds of junk on their back. I say that because that is the reason I just now focus on the engine and mind before buying my junk. Anyway, I started walking in the woods during the epidemic after I started feeling better. I had always wanted to walk the AP since spending 4 weeks backpacking the San Juans in my early 20's. I belonged to the Mountain club in college and we did day hikes in the White Mountains although I did not have time to do many of these weekends, I enjoyed it. I have not hiked since then although I probably have a few hundred thousand miles on a bicycle and have done lots of loaded touring all over the world, ultra racing, am knowledgeable about training on a bike, and admittedly am a pretty lousy camper. I am posting in this sub-forum because my intent is to develop my ligaments and muscles and walking ability sufficiently to go from Ga to Maine completely fit for the task from the start and this would be relatively speedy for an older fellow although my focus is not on time at all. I am committed to not going to get fit on the AT. I want to start fit. My perfect day would be waking just before sunrise and seeing the sunrise as I walk off into glimmering cobwebs. Stopping briefly several times per day. Eating before camp (no stove) and then making camp not too long before sunset. Say 9-12 hours of walking and 3-6 hours per day of smelling the roses. I have no interest in the towns or partying or laying around camp 5 hours waiting for hiker midnight. Just walking and looking at nature. Slow is never fun for me, I say that because that is a common saying with bicycle tourists, too. "Why so fast? Slow down." Some might think someone doing 100 or 150 miles per day is going hard when in fact they may be going easy for them and just riding their own ride - I know that I just enjoy being out all day instead of leaving at 9 am and finding the new camping spot at 3 pm. I am a lousy camper and that is not the fun for me. I don't even bring a stove bike touring anymore unless it is going to be very cold and remote. I'd like to be fit enough to walk most of the day and this a long, long way away for me now. I am not sure if I would break the AT into segments over a couple years or do it in one thru hike. I would prefer to do it as a thru hike if I could get my body ready. I simply cannot spend 6-7 months straight on the trail but 3-4 months would be ok. I know how few do it in 90-110 days. If I can walk 10 hours per day, it is hard to imagine not covering 20+ miles on average even with a Nero here and there to resupply. I would expect to be carrying extremely light but sufficient and safe gear. I know and have experience with the mental challenges dictated by such a pace. I would be leaving Georgia second week of May 2021. The above drivel is my attempt to answer, "why"

    My hiking fitness progress seems very slow. My ligaments and joints are slowly getting stronger from all the hiking but they still get a little sore in odd places and I am not even walking that much. The muscles and ligament use is very different from cycling. This is my approach so far....I am in what would be called a "base" period from a training perspective. I am walking 5-7 days per week and around 30-35 miles per week with 5-7,000 feet of ascent with 10.1 miles in under 3 hours being my longest hike (yesterday.), it was the first hot and humid day. Like yesterday, my left ankle suddenly started to hurt a little even though I did nothing to it. Mysteriously, the pain went away in 20 minutes of slower walking. Go figure. I am probably going to do an easier 4-5 miles today. I go out to enjoy the walk and like it. Most of my walking is on trails, some on very, very rocky river bed to strengthen my ankles and practice foot placement. I have slowly increased the weight of my rucksack to where it is now about my anticipated base weight plus 1.5L of water. I have been at it for 7 weeks. Does a good "base" take 6 months for a Newbie? 3 months? 9 months? People who have hiked their whole lives have developed the muscles and ligaments that make getting ready for a long hike pretty easy or at least that is how it is for bicycling. They could probably just hit the trail and ease into it. A Newbie Cyclist can't just go from 30 mile rides to a century in a couple weeks whereas a lifelong distance cyclist could ramp the miles up very quickly. I guess my problem is I have no bench marks in hiking like with cycling. Is 20 miles backpacking like a Century (100 miles) on a bike or is it more like a Double Century?

    I have lots of time on my hands but am not sure what to do in terms of becoming a backpacking from a fitness perspective. I know many will laugh because I am clearly overthinking it. Being locked up in the house during a pandemic will do that to you. Maybe I should just keep walking 5 or more days per week with the pack at base weight plus water and do one longer and longer hike per week, increasing that "long day" by 1-2 miles per week. Take an easy week every 3rd or 4th week. When that "long" hike gets pretty long, start increasing the distance of the hike on the day subsequent to it. Back to back long days and then feeling good on day 3 being the objective. I am sure I could do 20-25 miles today but that would ruin me for a month or more. I'd like to be able to do back to back 20-25 mile days and still feel eager to hike on day 3. This might take 6-9 months of building. I had hoped to be fit enough later in the summer to go from Lehigh Gap to the NY/NJ border or maybe even the Long Trial as a bit of a test, presuming the virus bans would be lifted (?). I can't see myself being fit enough by late summer to be honest. I am now considering upping my game by doing hill repeats on rocky terrain (I hate the gym and cannot see myself doing yoga....they are all closed due to the virus anyway), the hill coming out of one creek has about 150-170 vertical and is 10-34%. This would be somewhat equivalent to interval training in cycling that I am used to doing. I am not sure what to do but I need to either be more patient or step it up so to speak. My lungs and heart are good for an old man. I am thinking the rugged terrain coming out of the creak carrying a backpack would be like my weight training and intervals all in one package. My gut feeling is my legs are not yet ready to do these hill repeats. I dunno.

    Apology for the long winded post and if this is in the wrong sub-forum but this sub-forum is the only one that seems geared towards fitness and folks who could maybe help me or at least would not tell me to slow down and smell more roses. My heart rate is only 90-100 BPM on my hikes (low 90's average), I am really not going hard at say 3 mph walking, I just want to be able to go long to enjoy the whole day instead of being stiff and sore from backpacking half a day on trail or worse, getting overuse injury, blisterers, etc. Thanks for any tips. Again, sorry for so many words.

    Maybe just keep increasing distance slowly and be patient? Forget intervals up and down the rocky hill?

  2. #2
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    might be a little " short"

    for someone in otherwise good shape - with reasonable gear ( say 30 skin out, full food/fuel/ liquid)
    after 2 weeks(no injuries) you will be about 80% of potential

    that is my experience - yours will vary

  3. #3

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    Sounds like your actually doing good. A typical hiking pace is 2 - 2.5 MPH with a couple of short breaks included in the average. There are times you will do 1 MPH and times when you can do 3 MPH. Over 3 MPH is almost jogging, which is difficult if you have any kind of load on your back and when it's wicked hot and humid.

    The difference between hiking and biking is in hiking your legs are pushing up and in biking they are pushing down. Going up hill takes a lot more pushing up. The only way to train for that is to do it. Road or level trail walking helps but steep, rocky up hill is the best. There's plenty of it along the AT.

    There is one down side to hiking until dusk. If you don't plan ahead, there is a very good chance you'll be wanting to find a spot to spend the night in an area where that is just not practical, comfortable or legal. Then when it gets dark finding a decent spot to camp is even less likely.

    Avoiding this situation is easier today due to Guthook noting where practical campsites are located. If your at a shelter area late in the afternoon and there are no campsites shown within a reasonable distance, stay where you are.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Sounds like your actually doing good. A typical hiking pace is 2 - 2.5 MPH with a couple of short breaks included in the average. There are times you will do 1 MPH and times when you can do 3 MPH. Over 3 MPH is almost jogging, which is difficult if you have any kind of load on your back and when it's wicked hot and humid.

    The difference between hiking and biking is in hiking your legs are pushing up and in biking they are pushing down. Going up hill takes a lot more pushing up. The only way to train for that is to do it. Road or level trail walking helps but steep, rocky up hill is the best. There's plenty of it along the AT.

    There is one down side to hiking until dusk. If you don't plan ahead, there is a very good chance you'll be wanting to find a spot to spend the night in an area where that is just not practical, comfortable or legal. Then when it gets dark finding a decent spot to camp is even less likely.

    Avoiding this situation is easier today due to Guthook noting where practical campsites are located. If your at a shelter area late in the afternoon and there are no campsites shown within a reasonable distance, stay where you are.
    Thank you. I learned after a few weeks that I was walking wrong my whole life and I used to be a Looper....walking 12-14 miles a day with 30-40 pounds on your back. I was "overstriding' sticking my leg too far in front landing on my heel but I could go pretty fast that way, which is more like pulling your body instead of pushing using your rear end muscles. I might still be learning to walk properly but it is starting to feel smooth. I recently bought hiking pole upgrading from an ash tree branch. I don't really like walking the flats with the poles but I appreciate them on the downhills and steep uphills. I mostly just carry them in my hand on flat sections. So far, my hikes are too short to take a break. I am working up to a day hike where I would brink some snacks and probably stop halfway before returning to the start. Again, thanks for your help.

  5. #5
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    I was a competitive cyclist for years, years ago. I've been backpacking my whole life.
    Things I've noticed:
    1) Cycling muscles are an awesome advantage when hiking up hills! Overdeveloped knees and quads kill it on those long up-hills compared to everyone else, even if they still hurt.
    2) Cycling does little to nothing for developing the stabilizing muscles in the lower leg (or knees & hips for that matter), which are vitally important for maintaining balance and reducing twisted ankles and knees when traveling on uneven surfaces, like a trail, especially the AT and its rocks. I highly recommend balancing/proprioception exercises on a rocker board and/or one of those thick foam pads (both work slightly different muscle groups), all of which translates to spending 10 or 15 minutes, once or twice a day, standing on one foot or the other in a situation that forces you to keep fighting to maintain balance. Having a friend play catch with you, while you are trying to balance on one foot, and having that friend throw the ball too fast, too short, and all over the place while you try to keep your balance can further move the workout along.
    3) As for walking, walk lots and pay close attention to your body. Try to relax and allow your body to walk as naturally and smoothly as possible over all the different varied terrain and pack weights you are working with. I would encourage alternating shorter speed work and longer distances. I would also recommend hiking with only about 20 lbs on your back for most of your hikes, switching to heavier packs once in a while if you plan on occasionally carrying heavier loads. But, trying to build walking technique with an heavier pack may be a bit counter productive.
    4) It may take a year or two to fully develop poling technique (muscle learning and memory takes time), but once your body has incorporated a natural poling, even on flat ground, it can be amazing! The trick on flat ground is added speed and mileage because the poles can assist every so slightly right at the point of your stride where you're rolling over the ball of your foot and pushing off. That little push from the poles takes a huge load off that little foot motion driving you forward slightly faster with less effort and less tired feet at the end of the day.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  6. #6

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    Thanks Nsherry61. True, I don't find climbing the hills bad and in fact, enjoy them whereas the steeper descents over rocky terrain isn't my favorite. I'm reading up and practicing using the poles. The trails today were single track in lots of places with about 6 inches and then overgrown plants (just ferns and bushes), the poles sort of get caught up or in other cases there are so many dead trees and branches that my focus is just on my poles. I am going to look into those balancing exercises, no idea if my balance is good or bad but that is a very good idea. Thank you. Today, it was rainy and I had to cross 5 creeks and probably 5 dry ones and boy oh boy, the rocks were slick like ice. I slipped twice crossing one big stream and the poles saved my bacon. It is just all rocks everywhere on today's hike. So, I decided to spend time walking slowly up and down the dry creek bed practicing balance and foot placement, which might be too risky. Your drills might be smarter. Or it is possible that those slippery rocks would be a challenge even for a more experienced hiker. The two times it was a total shocker but I did not go down. I used to ski and I played ice hockey competitively for a long time and know a lot about falling. LOL. The feet and ankles definitely do not get the same stress on a bike (at least my setup) as hiking, night and day different for me.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Old_Dog View Post
    Thanks Nsherry61. True, I don't find climbing the hills bad and in fact, enjoy them whereas the steeper descents over rocky terrain isn't my favorite. I'm reading up and practicing using the poles. The trails today were single track in lots of places with about 6 inches and then overgrown plants (just ferns and bushes), the poles sort of get caught up or in other cases there are so many dead trees and branches that my focus is just on my poles. I am going to look into those balancing exercises, no idea if my balance is good or bad but that is a very good idea. Thank you. Today, it was rainy and I had to cross 5 creeks and probably 5 dry ones and boy oh boy, the rocks were slick like ice. I slipped twice crossing one big stream and the poles saved my bacon. It is just all rocks everywhere on today's hike. So, I decided to spend time walking slowly up and down the dry creek bed practicing balance and foot placement, which might be too risky. Your drills might be smarter. Or it is possible that those slippery rocks would be a challenge even for a more experienced hiker. The two times it was a total shocker but I did not go down. I used to ski and I played ice hockey competitively for a long time and know a lot about falling. LOL. The feet and ankles definitely do not get the same stress on a bike (at least my setup) as hiking, night and day different for me.
    This sounds like great training! It's good that you have an area nearby with some challenging terrain and elevation gain
    After you've hiked more on wet rocks, you'll know exactly what you can get away with doing without getting off balance as often.

  8. #8
    Garlic
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    I'm also 62 and pretty much switch seasons from cycling to hiking. I have done several thru-hikes and a couple of cross-country bike trips since retiring from work. If I want to do a major trip in either, I need to train exclusively for that activity. I'm not a gym person nor do I have any knowledge of anatomy, or diet. The concept of interval training is still a mystery to me. I just either hike a lot or bike a lot, and certainly eat a lot. But I've been doing that at some level for over forty years, and by now it's lizard brain/muscle memory.

    I've seen quite a crossover between cycling and hiking. On bike tours, I meet AT hikers. (Once in a roadside park in Montana, there were two other cyclists camping there and all three of us were AT veterans!) On thru hikes, I meet cross-country cyclists, sometimes even those who tour between trails. (Where's Stumpjumper?) So when you do hit the trails, you won't be the only one.

    Everything that's been said so far makes sense.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  9. #9

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    FWIW - Like many other things, backpacking is comprised of several component elements that can be broken down into basic categories that will eventually require some level of mastery beyond novice. Each of these break down into smaller subcategories that eventually get into minutiae like cutting the handle off a toothbrush to reduce weight and other such things. Corny as it sounds, each time you venture out, be it a 2-hour hike or an overnight, you will see how others do things that will increase your level of exposure and skill.

    Much like cycling, it takes a while to learn and understand the various elements that go into backpacking. Clearly you are in pretty good shape and know your body well, which is important as a baseline. There are certainly some techniques you will learn relative to steep downhill hiking that will be more gentle on your joints, and other such things, but while backpacking starts with the physical aspects, there is far more to it. I would say you probably do not need to spend a lot of time to increase your physical strength as much as you probably need to spend time learning how to reduce pack weight, or how to manage water and food in the back country.

    Each element of backpacking needs to be learned and eventually mastered regardless of how one feels about it at first, Few people enjoy pooping in the woods at first, but techniques are learned and applied to make this part of the activity safer and more enjoyable instead of being a dread. Breaking this activity down into its component parts makes learning them a little easier and you can prioritize the components you need to learn first, like pack weight management as opposed to breaking trail with snowshoes.

    A basic list with some sub-catagories would probably include:

    Conditioning - ability to hike the terrain selected and how many nights out on a trail
    Navigation - understanding topographic maps, compass use, distance/time estimations
    Hiking gear - footwear, clothing, trekking poles, traction devices
    Pack and contents - gear to bring on each trip depending on conditions
    Water management - cartage, filtering/treatment needs, how much to carry during the hike
    Food management - caloric needs and intake, cooking processes, resupply needs, protecting food from animals
    Weather - rain/snow gear, hypothermia protection
    Camping - tent/camp set up and break down, management of wet gear, proper elimination management
    First aid - knowing how to treat minor wounds, use bandages, and what injury/illness requires off-trail medical help

    Like most worthwhile things, complexity levels deepen within each basic category as mastery improves. One of the most valuable elements of this forum is the various levels of experience and mastery of these components that exist here and the related discussions of these things, which are seldom discussed once and left alone. Topics of interest to beginners to experienced mountaineers are posted every day, rather like a spiral staircase covers the same ground at different levels. You will learn a heck of a lot here that you will take with you onto various trails and try out.

    Not surprisingly, some education will be along the lines of osmosis in casual observations of people that you meet along a trail or camp near you. Some education needs a more deliberate pursuit to get answers like watching the techniques of people descending steep slopes to avoid joint pain, or what kind of stove you want to use. In my view, it's the constant process of seeing or learning new things that makes backpacking most enjoyable and then passing them on to others.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by garlic08 View Post
    I'm also 62 and pretty much switch seasons from cycling to hiking. I have done several thru-hikes and a couple of cross-country bike trips since retiring from work. If I want to do a major trip in either, I need to train exclusively for that activity. I'm not a gym person nor do I have any knowledge of anatomy, or diet. The concept of interval training is still a mystery to me. I just either hike a lot or bike a lot, and certainly eat a lot. But I've been doing that at some level for over forty years, and by now it's lizard brain/muscle memory.

    I've seen quite a crossover between cycling and hiking. On bike tours, I meet AT hikers. (Once in a roadside park in Montana, there were two other cyclists camping there and all three of us were AT veterans!) On thru hikes, I meet cross-country cyclists, sometimes even those who tour between trails. (Where's Stumpjumper?) So when you do hit the trails, you won't be the only one.

    Everything that's been said so far makes sense.
    Thank you, Garlic. When you say "exclusively", do you mean I should not ride my bike at all? I am currently only riding 2 per week of relatively short distance (30-35 miles per ride) because this hiking is kicking my butt (actually from the knee down).

    I probably need to find bigger hills to climb. Going up and down that one hill off the creek probably isn't the best way to get stronger. Driving to a location to practice hike just seems excessive.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Old_Dog View Post
    . . . When you say "exclusively", do you mean I should not ride my bike at all? . . .
    As a cyclist, I find riding my bike actually helps me quite a bit in recover from hard hiking and/or running.

    In brush, make sure your pole baskets are removed. And, with time and pole use, you start not paying conscious attention to your poles. I actually find that (after a couple years of using them) I pay less attention to both my foot and pole placement than I used to pay to only my foot placement because the poles can help stabilize me if my foot placement isn't perfect. YMMV.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  12. #12

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    I am far from being a trainer, but I have the cycling background from quite a few years ago. I'll share my thoughts.

    You already understand the concepts, it sounds like you are just having trouble applying them to hiking since you went through them on a bike so long ago. To simplify it to the most basic step, you need base miles at a slower pace. This will allow your body to adapt without injury. Your body is not used to the impacts that come from walking up and downhill. They are non existent while cycling. Pay attention to your aches and pains and recognize what changed as they occurred (increased stride length, increased speed over flat, increased speed uphill, increased speed downhill...). I find that if I increase mileage or intensity too quickly that my body starts letting me know. You have the cardio and typical major muscle strength already. You have to spend some time adapting to using more stabilizing muscles and let the ligaments and tendons adapt. Being an athlete works a bit against you on this, as you are used to going hard or pushing much harder than a non athlete.

    You might want to consider using 2 trekking poles instead of 1 so you don't start walking unbalanced. I wouldn't focus on speed for a while. Be careful extending your stride to gain more speed, as this can cause knee pain or injury if done too quickly. Also take your time going downhill and control putting your weight on the downhill foot. There are a lot of injuries to knees that occur here too.

    You will find that your feet, ankles and knees will be the slowest to adapt. Your stabilizing muscles will come around much faster.

    For the slippery rocks, focus on placing both poles in front of you leaving you with 3 points of stable contact. Move one foot forward and find a stable place for it. Move the poles forward and repeat the process. The key thing here is slow and methodical. Falling in the water is uncomfortable at best. It can be downright dangerous if the conditions are near freezing.

    Good luck with your transition. Keep putting in the miles and allow recovery time for your body.

  13. #13

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    My apologies for missing your being able to relate your current state to acquiring base miles. I would put a 20 mile hike as being similar to a Century. A lot of people do them, but they are a lot of work and training. Some people can do 30+ miles a day and I would say they are the exception and I would relate more to a Double Century. You will also know that the more hilly the route, the harder the effort output to do the same distance. If you have been ramping up for 7 weeks, I would think you started adding weight before your body was fully adapted. Slow down slightly and enjoy the adventure. I think you are on the right track and will be starting to see larger gains very shortly.

  14. #14

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    Thank you for the list Traveler......yes, I have some skills to acquire for sure although I already have some of them from bikepacking remotely, which has some crossover. I have spent a lot of time reading past posts here. It is a very good forum. I have a full year and hopefully 1-2 test trips to sort my weaknesses out. The book hasn't arrived yet, I am sure reading it will highlight some areas to work on.

    One real weakness for me is not knowing how many days that I am capable of carrying before resupply (like most of us built in the 50's, I have some health issues exasperated with excessive pack weight). I just have to learn how many days of food I can comfortably carry and how far that takes me. Since I am generally good at burning fat, I could probably get away with 1.25-1.5 lbs per day early on using calorically dense, higher fat foods. So, I would guess at this point 5 days maximum carry for me with a preference for 2-3 day carries. My base weight should be 7.5-9.0# without any real difficulty aside from money. My preference would be to stay on or near to trail for resupply (buy local with some mail drops but my experience says mail drops can be a pain) and not hitch or walk into distant towns for resupply. But such an approach means some longer resupplies. These logistical challenges are less frequent on a bike, even in remote areas. For instance, it is clear to me that I need two days food to get to Neels Gap from the start while on the other hand, it is unclear if I could go from Neels Gap to NOC without resupply or will I need to go off trail 12 miles to Hiawassee. Probably not but maybe doable Neels to NOC. On a bike, one can often resupply every day and sometimes even eat at a restaurant every day. Getting food is clearly not so convenient thru hiking as it is bike touring.

    It is starting to look like 20 miles backpacking is equivalent to 100-120 miles bike touring...pretty stout.....

    I ordered a balance board to work my ankles and lower legs, they need it for sure

  15. #15

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    Thank you, John844. Yes, I had learned the hard way that my stride was too long and I was reaching my foot too far out in front and that was making my lower legs sorer. Walked wrong my whole life. I do use both poles although I had no idea one could remove the baskets, that is a great idea. It is true that my lower legs can't handle it. It feels like it is the ligaments and tendons more than the muscles. I am not in pain, it is just more soreness than I would expect from the mileage. My heart and lungs are writing checks that my shins, calves, and feet can't cash. My thighs and glutes and lower back are fine. It feels like I am not working hard at all or getting a workout. I guess that is why my left ankle started to hurt for no reason the other day but mysteriously it went away after 20 minutes.

    I think my takeway is just to be more patient and give it more time. Thanks

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Old_Dog View Post
    . . . My heart and lungs are writing checks that my shins, calves, and feet can't cash. . . I think my takeway is just to be more patient and give it more time. Thanks
    As I've gotten older, I've had to relearn the hard way that cardio get's strong in weeks, muscles in weeks to months, and ligaments and tendons in months to years. As our lungs get stronger we start over stressing our muscles and as our muscles get stronger, we start over stressing our tendons and ligaments. AND, because they heal and strengthen so slowly, nothing sucks more than feeling fit and strong, and then having to babysit tendinitis for several months to get back on your feet!! I suck at taking it easy. AND, increasing stress slowly is so darn important as we are building strength, especially as we get older.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  17. #17

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    NSherry61....never knew that but is making sense about tendons and aging. Aligns with what I am seeing. I am going to take a day off tomorrow, have not had a rest day in awhile.

    I bought a second pair of Salomen XA V8 in the same exact size. 48 wide. Wore them today and my toe is killing me. They are a bit more than 1/4 inch shorter inside. In effect, the new ones are size 47 inside. The new ones are goretex GTX and the old ones are mesh breathable. The GTX must take more space than the mesh. Even the toebox is tighter. What a waste of money. Oh well. I am a little pissed.

    I monitor fluid lost on every workout by weighing before and after. I have learned that I lose more fluid per hour hiking than on a bike at an equivalent work output. In fact, I am pretty sure if I would not be able to replace all of it while walking in very hot temperatures and would need to stop and rest just to replace to fluids/electroytes during hiking whereas it is pretty easy for me to keep pace with hydration while riding. Interesting to me, maybe another cyclist turning hiker will read this in the future and find it helpful. YMMV.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Old_Dog View Post
    ...I bought a second pair of Salomen XA V8 in the same exact size. 48 wide. Wore them today and my toe is killing me. They are a bit more than 1/4 inch shorter inside. In effect, the new ones are size 47 inside. The new ones are goretex GTX and the old ones are mesh breathable. The GTX must take more space than the mesh. Even the toebox is tighter. ...
    Something I noticed over the last couple of years while ramping up my miles is that I had to go up in size with my shoes. In two years, I've actually gone up one full size with the same model of shoes. Started with an 8. Next pair 8.5 and now up to a 9. Toes touching the front of the shoe gets very uncomfortable. It's more noticeable going down hill. Don't assume it's just the shoe.

    Scott

  19. #19

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    Definite yes to post 5 and 12.
    I don't think I saw feet mentioned (just ligaments and tendons of feet/lower legs) so I would add that the pounding your feet take with 20 lbs is something you cannot train for other than by backpacking. Walking with the weight helps a little (b/c feet swell so you can confirm your shoes are good for backpacking vs hiking).
    But especially on AT your foot will not land true--which is where soft issue strength and foot toughness come in.
    Trail angel Ms. Janet helped me on my 2013 thru by telling me to soak my feet in Epsom Salt 20 minutes a day. This helps but again nothing beats actually toughening up your feet by walking with extra weight.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by bbikebbs View Post
    Something I noticed over the last couple of years while ramping up my miles is that I had to go up in size with my shoes. In two years, I've actually gone up one full size with the same model of shoes. Started with an 8. Next pair 8.5 and now up to a 9. Toes touching the front of the shoe gets very uncomfortable. It's more noticeable going down hill. Don't assume it's just the shoe.

    Scott
    why?

    I bought them 3 weeks apart. I had upsized to account for swelling, this swelling is an even bigger issue for ultracyclists. I would wear a 46 or 47 cycling shoe but typically get 48 extrawide. I measure out at 46 for the Salomens. I bought 48W for the extra space, yes, I swell too. These two should be the same dimensions internally. It is just real obvious the shoes dimensions are very different.

    I had my son put the GTX ones on and he immediately said they were awful compared to the mesh ones, which he said were very very comfortable. I agree I love them except they take 3 days to dry when I hike in the rain or cross streams in the water. My son and I wear the same size shoe although his shape is a little different. It is most certainly the shoes, the interior dimensions are measurably different by a touch more than 1/4 of an inch, that makes these a 47 instead of the labeled 48. And, after market insoles that fit the mesh model will not fit inside the GTX model. A 48 of the same shoe should be the same. Even the width is narrower in the toe box although I can not measure. It caused the underside of my foot to wrinkle. I have hiked almost every day in either three different shoes or boots. I get new Salomens and my feet are not feeling good at all after a 6 mile hike loop that I do 3 times per week. It is the shoe.

    The lesson to me is this. I will buy the expected 3-4 pairs of shoes before starting (if so lucky) and wear them before sending as a mail drop.
    Last edited by Big_Old_Dog; 05-29-2020 at 20:27.

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