Getting fit for hill walking in Wales

brynpoeth
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Getting fit for hill walking in Wales

Postby brynpoeth » 24 Aug 2017, 5:48am

I cycle regularly at home and walk a bit too (did 10 km a couple of days ago) but there are no hills here

Soon I will be on holiday in the Fells (or rather the Mynyddoed), I plan walks of 20km + with ascent 800m+

I find walking tiring to start with

What can I do to prepare for the holiday?

Diolch yn fawr iawn i bawb
Last edited by brynpoeth on 9 Jan 2018, 10:41am, edited 1 time in total.
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
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Tangled Metal
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Re: Getting fit for hill walking

Postby Tangled Metal » 24 Aug 2017, 9:41am

Walk. Not being facetious but walking and walking up inclines. It's the only way to get walking fit. A stepper in a gym or a treadmill on the highest incline setting are good too. Just walk on the treadmill not run. Walking up an inclined treadmill at pace is actually as good as a slow jog on one for fitness and you're exercising the muscles you will use.

However IME the only way to get hill fit is time spent in the hills. I was going to the gym but I only got truly hill fit when I upped my mileage in the hills. I live near the lakes so I'm truly blessed with a nice walking area.

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pjclinch
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Re: Getting fit for hill walking

Postby pjclinch » 24 Aug 2017, 11:10am

Wot Tangled Metal sez...

When I was at uni in the mountaineering club the captain of the Keep Fit Club joined us. Unsurprisingly, fitness was not a problem but the first big hill turned out to be a bit of a calf-burner for her. A bit of hill-time later and no longer any problem.

Cycling a lot will do your aerobic fitness good, but it won't train the specific muscles to get yourself up steep hills on foot. If you really want to train without the hills and can't be doing with gyms then find the biggest staircase you can and spend as much time as you can face going up and down it.

One frequently misunderstood point about steep hills on foot is, unlike bikes, coming down them can take considerable effort too. Your cycling should have given you better than average thigh power, and on a steep descent if you can keep your knees bent and take some of the load on your quads it should be a little easier on your knees.

You can go for poles for 4x4 effect, but if you do put in some practice to get the most out of them, see http://medphys.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/gear/poles/poles1.html

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horizon
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Re: Getting fit for hill walking

Postby horizon » 24 Aug 2017, 1:34pm

Just to put this on a cycling theme, we often see a similar question about long distance cycle rides - how to get fit for one. I always think that the idea of the ride itself is to get fit (or for the next one). I can understand that due to limited time off work for instance, people won't have time to build up fitness on the walk/ride itself. But then this also begs the question of why suddenly this one-off event? Surely the enquirors would have done more or planned further trips. Perhaps I am being a little naive here.
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Tangled Metal
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Re: Getting fit for hill walking

Postby Tangled Metal » 24 Aug 2017, 4:51pm

I was a long distance walker in my past, I didn't feel a walk until after 20 odd miles. In fact one event the first 16 miles were recorded at a walking pace of 4.4mph average including any stops made. If you've ever tried to walk at that speed without running for any distance then you'll know it's a fair old pace.

Then I decided I needed to increase speed by running. On challenge walks a lot of ppl run at least part of it. That explains why one 40 mile charity walk has a time record of about 4 hours! So I started to jog of an evening. Seriously not good fun. I reckon my pace was less than the walking pace I could have done for the same distance.

The above is my long winded way of saying you can only get good at one activity by training for it. Walk, walk some more and for the fun of it walk a bit more. Walk to until your legs ache and your calf muscles burn. No seriously go for walks, find some hills to walk up, gym stepper or inclined treadmill or just enjoy your walking when you get there. I think if you're a cyclist with reasonable fitness then a walking trip will not be too bad. Just take your time and enjoy it. It's fun not torture as your aim afterall.

It's not a charity challenge walk over ridiculous distance is it? 40+ miles then you'll need a lot of walking training. It's not easy doing those distances straight off. Look after your feet if you are doing greater distances. Sort hotspots out before they get bad and become blisters. Competed is not too bad for hot spots on feet. I've got loads of tips, well a few at least if you need any.

BTW what hills are you planning to do?

brynpoeth
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Re: Getting fit for hill walking

Postby brynpoeth » 24 Aug 2017, 8:15pm

pjclinch wrote:Wot Tangled Metal sez...

When I was at uni in the mountaineering club the captain of the Keep Fit Club joined us. Unsurprisingly, fitness was not a problem but the first big hill turned out to be a bit of a calf-burner for her. A bit of hill-time later and no longer any problem.

Cycling a lot will do your aerobic fitness good, but it won't train the specific muscles to get yourself up steep hills on foot. If you really want to train without the hills and can't be doing with gyms then find the biggest staircase you can and spend as much time as you can face going up and down it.

One frequently misunderstood point about steep hills on foot is, unlike bikes, coming down them can take considerable effort too. Your cycling should have given you better than average thigh power, and on a steep descent if you can keep your knees bent and take some of the load on your quads it should be a little easier on your knees.

You can go for poles for 4x4 effect, but if you do put in some practice to get the most out of them, see http://medphys.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/gear/poles/poles1.html

Pete.


I did ascend a great staircase once: 768 steps, 149 meters ascent

Walking is like cycling, ascending is more fun than descending, but in Wales the hills are not so steep. Looking at the OS maps of Scotland is a bit frightening, the contours are so close together! :wink:
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Tangled Metal
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Re: Getting fit for hill walking

Postby Tangled Metal » 24 Aug 2017, 9:46pm

Oh there are a lot of steep hills in Snowdonia and Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains from memory.

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pjclinch
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Re: Getting fit for hill walking

Postby pjclinch » 25 Aug 2017, 8:22am

brynpoeth wrote:Walking is like cycling, ascending is more fun than descending, but in Wales the hills are not so steep. Looking at the OS maps of Scotland is a bit frightening, the contours are so close together! :wink:


The ones you have to watch out for is where the contours would be too close together to print, so they leave some of them out. This gives a superficial impression of a less-steep slope... The 50m references are always there, so if there's a benign slope amongst almost solid brown, do count you've got 4 intermediates between the references! Drop "stob dubh" in to the search at Streetmap, sleect the Munro and check out the SW ridge off the summit for examples of Mysterious Vanishing Contoursm

Harveys maps have 15m contours, IMHO a better solution where there's a lot of topography. Norwegian maps have 20m contours (to save them just being a mess of brown), and they take quite some dialling in to if you're used to 10m (or even 15).

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Tangled Metal
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Re: Getting fit for hill walking

Postby Tangled Metal » 25 Aug 2017, 9:04am

Descending in the hills is a skill BTW. It took me some time to learn. It was a eureka moment when I got angry on a downhill and just gave in to it. It was the way I relaxed and went with the flow that did it. Fast feet any sure foot placement are important, but the relaxing does it. I went from someone who started descents at the front of a large group and ended at the back to someone who would fly past people. Not really running or walking just relaxing into the descent. A good feeling.

BTW scree running is bad. Just thought I'd mention it. It's erosion pure and simple. Is it really worth the impact just to descend a hill quickly?

I hope you're trip goes well and you have a good time. It's fun if you go at your pace, walking in the hills.

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Re: Getting fit for hill walking

Postby Abradable Chin » 25 Aug 2017, 9:10am

Tendon flexibility is important, too, especially on steep inclines where your ankles are in extreme positions.
Is warming up is still recommended? I thought the latest studies found it did nothing? Anyway, stretch a bit at some time, and keep supple.

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Re: Getting fit for hill walking

Postby Vorpal » 25 Aug 2017, 9:23am

Mr. V does more walking than I do, but my leg muscles are stronger from cycling, so when we walk, he is faster on the flat, and I am faster on the hills.
I agree with others above, but I think that cycling is pretty good preparation for the up and down part of hill walking.

If you are carrying a rucksack on your holiday, take one with on your training walks. I actually find that to be the hardest part of long distance walking. I would otherwise be okay without doing any preparation at all.
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Tangled Metal
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Re: Getting fit for hill walking

Postby Tangled Metal » 25 Aug 2017, 4:21pm

As with most things it depends on what you're doing. Anyone with a degree of fitness can walk up to a certain distance perfectly fine. As the distances increase or terrain gets steeper / rougher then you'll feel it more.

As with any activity you get used to doing it. My martial arts instructor called part of it muscle memory. I'm not convinced by his description but I have experienced being fit in one activity and struggle in another similar one.

For example I did a lot of challenge walks which I did as fast as possible as part of the challenge. I got very fit for walking at a high pace for walking. Then I tried running. I couldn't keep it up and tbh I was able to go faster over a longer distance by walking. It's different motion, different utilization of muscles. The same thing when I got back into cycling.

I'm not saying you need to train for walking by doing walking but it helps and come the time for your trip you'll be able to do more and it'll be easier than if your just kept on cycling. Plus balance, agility, etc is developed if you're walking across the similar rough terrain.

brynpoeth
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Re: Getting fit for hill walking

Postby brynpoeth » 25 Aug 2017, 5:42pm

Thanks for the info and tips

I do admire the fell runners who do a brace of munros before breakfast, how can they go so fast?

I used to have some walking boots from the YHA shop but now I use work shoes that I got from the DIY store, they are robust with non-slip soles, seems to me they are quite suitable
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Re: Getting fit for hill walking

Postby Vorpal » 25 Aug 2017, 8:19pm

brynpoeth wrote:I used to have some walking boots from the YHA shop but now I use work shoes that I got from the DIY store, they are robust with non-slip soles, seems to me they are quite suitable

Do some long walks in them and make sure that they are suitable, and also broken in (if needed), but I would still recommend taking with some hydrocolloid dressings, like compeed. Even people doing walking that they are used to and wearing boots that they are used to wearing sometimes get blisters; something gets in a sock and they don't realise it, their feet get damp or sweaty, etc.
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munroad
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Re: Getting fit for hill walking

Postby munroad » 30 Aug 2017, 9:47am

Probably the most helpful thing would be to get your quads accustomed to going downhill.
Then making sure you have the correct socks for your footwear. Some ultra distance trail runners swear by spraying Care Plus Camphor on their feet daily for 2 weeks to harden up the skin. Injinji socks are favoured by some (but not all). They have toes in and they make a thin liner sock.
Like any sport the best training is to do it! I have found quads strengthening helpful because I don't think cycling develops your VMO's much. (Medial part of quads...)
I speak as a 67 year old life long hill walker (Munro completer) turned cyclist with knackered knees who has just returned to the hills.
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