Author Topic: Getting to the top, do you have a method to get there?  (Read 874 times)

gunwharfman

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As I've got older It becomes that much harder for me to easily get to the top of a steep path, or to the top of a mountain. To help myself I usually employ the method of walking 20 - 50 paces (depending on how steep, hot, cold or otherwise it is) and then stop for about 10 deep breaths. Once done I do another 20 - 50 paces, then another, then another. It's a stop and starts routine for me, but it works. I do note however that some people just make it to the top in one go, they seem to get themselves into a hiking rhythm and just plod on upwards. I can't do that.

richardh1905

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Re: Getting to the top, do you have a method to get there?
« Reply #1 on: 14:25:08, 02/04/21 »
For me, it is all about pacing myself - slow and steady does it, even with a heavy pack.


That being said, I did run out of steam on a steep slope in the Howgills last Wednesday, but I think that was more to do with needing a carb boost.
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jimbob

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Re: Getting to the top, do you have a method to get there?
« Reply #2 on: 14:29:33, 02/04/21 »
Shorten stride but keep up the cadence, don't allow your knees to lock out on the leading leg, keep the knees bent and push back with the trailing leg once it's level with your upright body. Let the huge muscles at the back of your legs do the work. It only really works with a shorter stride length. The cardiac physio nurse I had was a very keen walker and she showed me how, after a while it becomes a natural way to walk.

 Edited to add, oh and let your pacer poles and arms do some of the work.
Too little, too late, too bad......

WhitstableDave

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Re: Getting to the top, do you have a method to get there?
« Reply #3 on: 14:32:47, 02/04/21 »
I'll speak for myself, but also add a tip or two that I've tried to take on board...

Match breathing with steps. As in, breathe in for three steps then out for three steps (or every four steps or whatever depending on slope). It's the regular pattern that matters because it helps keep breathing - and therefore heart rate - under control.

If hands are free, place a hand at the top of each thigh and push down to assist the legs as they straighten. Or clasp hands behind the back. Both methods help keep body upright and assist breathing.

Every so often, take a very deep breath and blow it out hard. This helps clear the lungs for a good intake of fresh air.

Avoid panting at all costs!

(I see that Richard has replied while I've been typing... absolutely, I like an energy gel (or other boost) when approaching a tough climb. I think it helps, but I'll admit the benefit might be psychological!).

(I see that jimbob has replied while I've been typing the above... yes, I agree that shortening the stride and taking baby steps can help. However, for long, tough inclines, I like to vary my stride and foot strike where possible.)


barewirewalker

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Re: Getting to the top, do you have a method to get there?
« Reply #4 on: 14:53:12, 02/04/21 »
When I was in my early teens I first learnt to set targets, a particular feature along the way to reach, when I was nearly there I would try to take some extra distance. As I learnt to graduate my steps with the gradient, then the promised stops were changed to an easier stride, then I discovered rhythm. Link rhythm to flow, then you discover how to walk long distance without stopping. Of course 60 years later I just collapse, periodically ;D
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pauldawes

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Re: Getting to the top, do you have a method to get there?
« Reply #5 on: 15:04:18, 02/04/21 »
For me, it is all about pacing myself - slow and steady does it, even with a heavy pack.





Thatís exactly what I do (except never any danger of a heavy pack), just slow, and keep going.


In my case, itís the steep descents that really do me in. I would far sooner face a steep ascent late on a tiring day, than a steep descent.

richardh1905

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Re: Getting to the top, do you have a method to get there?
« Reply #6 on: 15:07:11, 02/04/21 »
(I see that Richard has replied while I've been typing... absolutely, I like an energy gel (or other boost) when approaching a tough climb. I think it helps, but I'll admit the benefit might be psychological!).


Nakd Blueberry Muffin bar was my preferred means of self resuscitation. And it was a good excuse to stop and soak up the special atmosphere of the Howgills.  :)
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richardh1905

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Re: Getting to the top, do you have a method to get there?
« Reply #7 on: 15:08:24, 02/04/21 »

Thatís exactly what I do (except never any danger of a heavy pack), just slow, and keep going.


In my case, itís the steep descents that really do me in. I would far sooner face a steep ascent late on a tiring day, than a steep descent.


Luckily, I have always been a confident descender - plenty of practice galloping down off the hill to catch last orders, when pubs used to shut mid afternoon  :D :D
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Ridge

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Re: Getting to the top, do you have a method to get there?
« Reply #8 on: 15:21:52, 02/04/21 »
Another vote for plodding onward, or pacing myself, I try to set a pace that I can keep going at. If I'm walking with someone who likes lots of short rests I find it hard to get in to a rhythm.
Obviously some times I need to stop and admire the view.

ninthace

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Re: Getting to the top, do you have a method to get there?
« Reply #9 on: 15:31:19, 02/04/21 »
Shorten stride but keep up the cadence, don't allow your knees to lock out on the leading leg, keep the knees bent and push back with the trailing leg once it's level with your upright body. Let the huge muscles at the back of your legs do the work. It only really works with a shorter stride length. The cardiac physio nurse I had was a very keen walker and she showed me how, after a while it becomes a natural way to walk.

 Edited to add, oh and let your pacer poles and arms do some of the work.
Wot 'e sed!

Pacerpoles can have the effect of adding banisters to your climb.  I try to keep a rhythm where a convesation in short sentences is still possibe.  Another use for my Tilley hat - if is going to be a long uphill grind, use the brim of your hat to screen just how far it is to go, thereby preventing morale failure.
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WhitstableDave

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Re: Getting to the top, do you have a method to get there?
« Reply #10 on: 15:48:22, 02/04/21 »

Luckily, I have always been a confident descender - plenty of practice galloping down off the hill to catch last orders, when pubs used to shut mid afternoon  :D :D

I'm not sure I'd describe our running downhill as 'galloping', but a controlled jog is certainly a practice we've adopted in the last year. On Tuesday, we were just over 20 miles into our walk when we came to a long, steep descent through some woods. We broke into a trot for the descent because it was the appropriate thing to do - let gravity take you and go with the flow (while using different muscles and giving the others a well-deserved rest!).  ;)

zuludog

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Re: Getting to the top, do you have a method to get there?
« Reply #11 on: 16:04:02, 02/04/21 »
I find it's helpful to chant my mantra quietly to myself -

godimknackeredgodimknackeredgodimknackeredgodim......

forgotmyoldpassword

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Re: Getting to the top, do you have a method to get there?
« Reply #12 on: 16:57:23, 02/04/21 »
What works for me is never letting my mind think of 'how long until I get to the top?', for some reason the mind seems to play tricks on you and your energy levels seem to correlate to how much you need to do.  It used to work the same when I was rowing at the gym - you'd set yourself 40 minutes to row and the last 5 minutes would feel much harder, yet if you came back in two days and did 60 minutes, that same feeling would happen from min 55...


So I just set whatever pace I feel I could maintain for hours and head uphill, I think most people are VO2 limited or leg limited - that is to say need to catch their breath, or stop to let their legs take a break and I'd put myself in the 2nd category, but provided I pace myself right or it isn't incredibly steep terrain I just keep plugging.


Another vote for proper nutrition too, understanding how the body metabolises sugar and how it's useful to you for steep hills gives you that energy kick.  Charging up hills when you've got a bag full of snacks, and then stocking up later once you're in camp is doing it wrong and probably giving yourself a harder day out than you need it to be.

Andies

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Re: Getting to the top, do you have a method to get there?
« Reply #13 on: 18:12:47, 02/04/21 »
I've found counting 50 steps, a break, then repeat etc....  very effective on especially steep sections of  a hill climb, combined with little steps. Otherwise I try to keep a generally steady comfortable pace. Mrs A is more of a stop/starter which I find a bit frustrating at times, but I just enjoy the view  ;)
I must also admit to the use of jelly babies for a sugar boost, which usually seems to help  :-[

pauldawes

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Re: Getting to the top, do you have a method to get there?
« Reply #14 on: 19:04:18, 02/04/21 »

Luckily, I have always been a confident descender - plenty of practice galloping down off the hill to catch last orders, when pubs used to shut mid afternoon  :D :D


First boots I had when  I restarted country rambles were great in everything (comfort, waterproof) in every respect apart from tenacious grip....as soon as rock was wet or muddy, they had grip of skates on ice.


At the time was doing a lot of walking in lime stone areas, which I mentally renamed ďslimestoneĒ...descents were often rapid and undignified.


Not quite developed a phobia of descents...but even now plan routes to avoid steep descents towards end of a walk.