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Backpacker Magazine – March 2014

Go the Distance: Endurance Workout

Endurance coach and ultrarunner Travis Macy developed this plan to get you off the couch and into the biggest hiking weekend of your life in 90 days.

by: Casey Lyons

Brandon Joseph Baker (Courtesy of The North Face)
Brandon Joseph Baker (Courtesy of The North Face)

 

Month 1: Build a Base

Start slow, moderate your training if you feel rundown, and gradually ramp up to the longer workouts.

Monday

Rest

Macy: “Recovery days are key.”

 

Tuesday

Run (or jog) 45 minutes (Zone 2*).

 

Wednesday

Gym Workout A:

Plank 3 x 45 seconds

Side plank 3 x 30 seconds

3 x 25 pushups

3 x 5-10 pull-ups

3 x 5 lunges each side

 

To do a lunge Start standing with legs together. Step forward until front quad is parallel to the floor. Add a pack as your strength increases.


Macy: “These exercises build core strength, which helps maintain good posture and balance while you hike.”

 

 

Thursday

Run 30 minutes (Zone 2).

 

Friday

Gym Workout B (page 2)

 

Saturday

Long day: Hike 90 to 120 minutes at a good, athletic pace (Zone 1 or 2) on hilly terrain. Carry a light pack. 

 

Sunday

Recovery hike: Trek with a pack for 60 minutes on trails (Zone 1 or 2).

Macy: “Don’t sweat a missed day. Refocus, recommit, and keep going.”


*

Perceived Exertion Zones for Cardio Workouts

 

Zone 1 Easy and sustainable

Zone 2 Moderate effort, can hold conversation

Zone 3 Strong effort, breathing hard

Zone 4 Very strong effort,
feels like a race

Zone 5 Maximum effort, can only maintain for a short time


<--page!-->
 

Month 2: Focus Your Effort

“This is the heavy-lifting month where both the volume and intensity are highest and the focus is on making big gains in fitness and strength,” Macy says. 

Monday

Rest

 

Tuesday

Run 45 minutes (Zone 2*).

 

Wednesday

Gym Workout B:

2 minutes front crunches

2 minutes side crunches on each side

3 x 8 bench press (60% of single-rep maximum)

3 x 10 dumbbell curls

4 x 10 squats (see page 85)

To do a side crunch From a sit-up position, move right elbow toward the left knee. Keep the head lifted.

To do a squat Stand with legs hip-width apart. Keep weight on heels and sit back. Add a pack as strength increases.
 

Thursday

Run for 60 minutes, completing four 5-minute intervals (Zone 4) separated by 3 minutes of easy jogging. 

Macy: “Intervals increase your heart rate and boost aerobic fitness. When your body adjusts to the higher intensity, it makes lower intensity feel easier.”

 

Friday

Gym Workout C

(see page 3)

 

Saturday

Hike 80 minutes (Zone 2-3).

 

Sunday

Long day: Hike 3.5 to 4 hours with a fully loaded pack on hilly terrain (Zone 2).

Macy: “Doing the long day when your legs are a little tired simulates how your legs might feel on the second day of your 50-mile weekend.”

 

Perceived Exertion Zones for Cardio Workouts

 

Zone 1 Easy and sustainable

Zone 2 Moderate effort, can hold conversation

Zone 3 Strong effort, breathing hard

Zone 4 Very strong effort,
feels like a race

Zone 5 Maximum effort, can only maintain for a short time


<--page!-->

Month 3: Peak and Taper

“You won’t build a lot of fitness in the last few weeks,” Macy says. Make sure you’re rested before your hike.

Monday

Rest

 

Tuesday

Run 45 minutes (Zone 2*).

 

Wednesday

Gym Workout C:

Your choice: an hour of yoga, Pilates, CrossFit, or other cross-training.

Macy: “Giving people a choice automatically increases their motivation.”

 

Thursday

Run 60 minutes, completing two 10-minute pushes (Zone 4) with 5 minutes of easy jogging in between. 

Macy: “For the final week, replace this with an easy run or day off.”

 

Friday

Gym Workout A

 

Saturday

Hike 80 minutes (Zone 2).

 

Sunday

Long day: Hike 3 hours with a fully loaded pack on hilly terrain (Zone 2).

Macy: “Reduce this hike to 1.5 hours the week before your trip.”

Perceived Exertion Zones for Cardio Workouts

 

Zone 1 Easy and sustainable

Zone 2 Moderate effort, can hold conversation

Zone 3 Strong effort, breathing hard

Zone 4 Very strong effort,
feels like a race

Zone 5 Maximum effort, can only maintain for a short time

 

 

 

 



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