In the 12 week mountaineering training schedule, I see a 5 hour hike with 2000 ft elevation gain is recommended. It is easy for me to hit 2000' within 2 hours - should I slow down and try to hit the 5 hour mark? What should take precedence in training? Time DOING, or elevation GAINED?

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The reason we specify 5hrs is a good base line goal for beginners especially early on in the fitness plan.  The less time you can hit 2000 ft in the better.  It does depend on how many miles/kilometers the elevation gain is in.  1000 ft of gain in 1 mile terrain is much different than 1000 ft gain over 2 miles.  If you could do 2000 ft in 2hrs or less safely go for it.  Just don't get injured or give yourself a heart attack.  When climbing GENERALLY the faster a climber the better his/her chances of making the summit before their turn around window and less time exposed to hazards.  Having said that (notice I say Generally) there are times when you're climbing over 10,000 ft where you want to limit climbing to high to fast to prevent altitude sickness.  For training at low elevation this isn't a factor.  Also I recommend a heart rate monitor to stay in your 85% MHR range.

Both are important for different reasons. It's sort of like comparing apples and oranges...


First, it depends on the hike. Not all 2,000 ft. gains are equal. Consider: How steep is the terrain? How many miles will be covered? Are there formidable streams to cross? If you want to build endurance (and follow the 5 hour recommendation), choose a more difficult hike (streams to cross, etc) with milage. If the hike has more than a 2,000 ft. gain and you can handle it, go for it and don't stress over the numbers. Both time and elevation are important, since time spent out there builds endurance and gives you a realistic sense of how your body will handle longer exposure to the elements (heat, cold, whatever) and elevation gained builds muscle and strength, not to mention gets you acclimated to a higher elevation. If you're using a training plan that isn't personalized, then you may have to adjust for your ability level.  


By the way, I'm not an expert on training schedules, but from my own experiences as a high school coach and from climbing myself, my response seems sound. Hope it helps.






If it's too easy for you, make it harder. The whole point of training is to push yourself - do something that is hard for you, and relevant to your goals.

always train harder then the course. this will make it easier when you relax and enjoy the scenery. i always try to quicken my pace then add time as it gets easier.

try adding weight vest and then backpack with weight. a weight vest is differant then back pack when you are hiking- the way it fits on you.also helps so adjustments can be made before the big day.



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