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What do you do to maximize mileage?
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Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
What do you do to maximize mileage? on 04/01/2008 10:32:40 MDT Print View

This question is not aimed for the nice, strolling hike where you smell the flowers along the way. This is for when you want to do some serious mileage over a period of 2 or 3 days (or more).

What have you found works best for you? Do you walk the uphills and run the downhills? Keep a fast steady pace using poles (nordic style)? Thoughts?

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: What do you do to maximize mileage? on 04/01/2008 11:07:37 MDT Print View

Well... if I want to absolutely maximize my miles I would pick someplace flat on the longest day, with a good flashlight :-)

Seriously though... there are two thing I keep in mind when I am trying to put in what are big miles for me (20-45). The first is to maximize the time. Get up early, hike late, have a light that is good enough to use for navigation after dark (or better yet, a cloudless night with a full moon).

The second is to keep moving with more or less constant energy output with similar cadence. On Steep hills my steps get shorter. Downhills I will be jogging provided I can do it without tripping. When I take breaks, they are really short (say 5 minutes).


Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: What do you do to maximize mileage? on 04/01/2008 11:13:43 MDT Print View

Although I'm no expert, here are a few thoughts to get this going:

- Duration - starting early witha steady pace and breaks that are apporpriate for you to catch you wind, retie your shoes, etc., but not cool down too much. After making dinner, hike some more then find a campsite at dusk.
- I don't run because it tends to beat up my knees, but obviously, there are folks that can mix that in to really boost the milage. Just have to decide whether you can do that for 2-3 days.
- Poles - they help spread the load on the downhills, keep me from turning an ankle, and are very helpful on flat ground by propelling me along a bit faster without overstressing my lower legs/feet.
- Food - snack, snack, snack while hiking rather than stopping for a big lunch.
- Water - drink, pee, drink, pee
- Stretch at breaks
- MP3 player - listening to your favorite song can really help you mentally if your on a well markedd (and maybe boring) trail.
- Do I really need to mention lightweight pack and trail runners?

David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 04/01/2008 11:16:28 MDT Print View


Edited by DaveT on 11/20/2014 14:57:45 MST.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: mileage. on 04/01/2008 11:38:18 MDT Print View

For me, slow and steady wins the race. If I walk too fast, I'll feel it sooner (shorter distance covered) then if I walk slow and cover more ground. At the beginning of the day, I take it real nicely to stretch out my muscles and get into the groove.
And...if you wake up real early, nothing like a nap at lunch. :)

Richard DeLong
(Legkohod) - MLife

Locale: Eastern Europe / Caucasus
slow down to move faster on 04/01/2008 11:42:16 MDT Print View

I've discovered that it's best to fight my tendency to want to move too fast and overelevate my heart rate. I suspect there is some optimal heartrate where the body can remain in a state of homeostasis without overexerting... that is the rate to aim for. If you go over or don't take a rest on time, you'll have to recuperate, which ultimately steals more time and mileage. If you pay attention to your legs and feet you can also tell when they need a break (usually after 2 to 2.5 hrs of walking for me), and lying down and raising them for 10 minutes along with getting a good drink and maybe doing some stretching will make them like new again. Once you find the sustainable sweet spot, just increase the number of hours on trail by rising early and retiring late. I think this is the key to doing high mileage day after day.

Edited by Legkohod on 04/01/2008 11:44:41 MDT.

John Haley
(Quoddy) - F

Locale: New York/Vermont Border
Re: What do you do to maximize mileage? on 04/01/2008 11:54:36 MDT Print View

I'm much the same as several replies already. I try to get on the trail early, try to make regular, but brief, stops for water or a snack, and keep lunch break to a minimum. I never try to set a torrid pace at any time and prefer to go at a consistent, if slower pace. I listen to my body and if I need to end the day early... I do it. Some days it's only the darkness that stops me, but that's rare. Normally, if all goes well, I'm ready to end my day at between 10 and 13 hours.

More directly in answer to the question... I take it slow on the steep uphills, moderate on the downhill sections, and try to hit a faster stride whenever the terrain is flat and without obsticles. I guess I border on Nordic if it's flat enough.

Edited by Quoddy on 04/01/2008 11:58:09 MDT.

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
Resting pace on 04/01/2008 13:59:44 MDT Print View

I join with the heretofore unanimous support for the proposition that we must hit the trail very early and walk fairly late. However, as an older hiker (closely approaching mid-60s) it is important for me to concentrate on a steady pace rather than speed, e.g. by not stopping and to take fewer breaks. It difficult to get started again after a lengthy break. Therefore I try to rest while walking by slowing down periodically to a pace where I am not breathing laboriously and, as others above have pointed out, making the breaks very brief.

Edited by johnk on 04/01/2008 14:39:18 MDT.

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Re: What do you do to maximise mileage? on 04/01/2008 17:09:37 MDT Print View

Last year sometime there was a thread posted about rest stops in order to maximise mileage.
A couple of people suggested 5mins break every hour, with feet elevated (eg on a pack) to drain the bad stuff from feet/legs and allow them to recover fast.
I've tried this a couple of times since then on training days, of about 50km on relatively hilly terrain, 25kg packweight.
It worked better than I thought! For me, leg/muscle pain/fatigue is pretty much non-existant even working that hard (I have built up to it), but foot pain from pounding is the stinker. I found that for my 5mins, I was only really elevating my feet for about 2-3 (taking into account drinking and eating, etc), but that was perfect. A couple of times later in the day I elevated for longer-about 10, but this was a bad idea, as it drained too much blood from my feet (which had of course swelled abit over the day), allowing them movement inside my runners, which was starting to cause blisters.
If foot pain is causing you difficulties in maintaining distance, a regime like this may work well, especially if you get into the routine and force yourself to keep eating every hour, etc.
Taking 5mins everyhour was worth it in terms of overall pace (I was doing 6-7kph walking flat out on flat/downhill, and 3-5kph uphills) allowing me to do 50kms in 10hours without any hassles, and also left me feeling pretty good at the end of the day so I could continually repeat the efforts.

Im not sure how to approach this at the coming State Rogaine Championships (24hr)...we usually dont have a single break for about the first 7 or 8 hours. But the start time is 4pm this year, so we might start implementing the 5min/hr thing as soon as its dark two hours into it (navigation/performance drops at night anyway, so we may aswell conserve energy for the daylight hours the next day). Terrain will be very rugged and rough with plenty of harsh rocks and scrub, no tracks this year, but we will hopefully still do 90-100km.

Hope this helps.

Don Wilson
(don) - MLife

Locale: Koyukuk River, Alaska
Re: Re: What do you do to maximise mileage? on 04/01/2008 17:45:33 MDT Print View

Ditto all the above.

But the clincher for me is to stay in tune with what my body and mind need. Drink a lot. Eat often. Pay attention to your feet. Change socks or wash your feet frequently when water is available. Deal with hot spots early. Have fun.

Bottom line - walking a lot of hours is necessary, but being proactive in dealing with problems and maintaining your energy and psyche is just as important, especially when on a long hike of more than a day or two.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Brains on 04/08/2008 22:15:25 MDT Print View

I did a 100k ultra last month, and walked every single klick. I beat loads of folks who ran early, flamed out, and died at the end.

Just to agree with everyone else..

I also rarely pass up the chance to soak my legs (or entire self) in nice cool water when it's hot. You make up the time in the end.

Trekking poles for any hike, unless its so rugged you'll be using hands for climbing quite often.

How about making sure your hike is really, really cool, so you want to keep hiking to see whats around the next bend? When I did the Royal Arch route earlier this year the first, 11 hour, 26 mile day flew by because every place was cooler than the next. Easy going, really.