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February 2008

Smash Your Fitness Barriers With Heart-Rate Training

Become a better hiker. Build speed, endurance, and strength all through heart-rate training.
Backpacker_Magazine_FitnessPhoto by Chuck Haney

Find Your Limits

Record these heart rates to guide your training.

Hike at an easy, conversational pace for an hour to determine your “go-all-day” heart rate. Use this figure as a low-end measuring point.

Hike uphill at a rapid pace for at least 30 minutes to establish your high-intensity heart rate.

Heart-Rate Exercises

Steady State

Why Build base endurance to hike at a consistent pace all day.

How Stay at your low-end heart rate while covering varied terrain. Start with one hour, and build up to three or four hours. Hike at a relaxed, conversational clip.


Why Improve aerobic capacity and reduce your recovery time.

How Warm up by walking for 15-20 minutes. Then hike for 6 minutes uphill at a strong pace just below your high-end heart rate. Recover by hiking 2 minutes at a slower pace (preferably downhill or on flats). Repeat 6 minutes “hard” and 2 minutes “easy” two more times; build up to four to six reps per session. Hike slowly for 10 minutes to cool down.

High Pitch

Why Gain confidence to hold a sustained, fast pace over longer distances.

How Warm up for 15-20 minutes, then climb a hill at a steady, hard pace for 25-45 minutes near your high-end heart rate. Monitor your breathing and hydration. Occasionally train on flat terrain to improve your stride rate. Cool down for 10 minutes.

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