Cardio Vascular Endurance
Cardiovascular endurance is very important in climbing 14ers or any other aerobic sport. Getting your body in shape to do the longer hikes is a must. Those who are able should train outdoors.
If you’re not able to do your workouts outdoors head inside to the gym. They have awesome machines now to get yourself into top shape. Stair climbers, inclined tread mills, elliptical trainers, stationary bikes (recumbent and upright), etc, etc, etc. Pick something you enjoy and do it. Be sure to ask for assistance if your not sure of the machine. Working out on a machine correctly is very important. You’ll be sure to get all the benefits and not any of the non-benefits.
Beginners can start out just by walking 20 to 45 minutes on a flat or slightly hilly trail or road 3 to 4 times a week. Remember that the other 3 or 4 days of the week are for rest. Don’t forget to breathe and use your arms to help propel your stride. Once you feel comfortable with this you can increase your pace and your time.
Intermediates can start by power walking for 45 minutes to an hour on a flat or slightly hilly road or trail. Do this 3 or 4 days per week, just like the beginners and don’t forget to breathe and use your arms to help propel your stride. We all need to constantly remind ourselves of the fundamental principles. Try to find a couple short hills that you can go over. Make an effort to maintain the momentum you have on the flats over the hills. If you feel good add another hill or increase your time. Again, remember that your non-training days are for rest. Train hard...rest hard…realize gains…repeat.
Eventually you will condition yourself to the distances you will be needing to accomplish your goals. Every human body is unique. We’ve suggested 3 or 4 days per week as a general schedule for beginners and intermediates. This is merely a suggestion for a starting point. You need to determine (after a few months) what frequency of training elicits the best response (greatest gains) from your body. Some older people may require more rest and only be able to train hard 2 to 3 days per week. This is just fine. Just make sure and pursue high quality training sessions on those 2 or 3 days. Younger people may recover more quickly and may find they can train hard 4 to 5 days a week. Learn to recognize the signs of overtraining and take time to rest. Like bodybuilding, your body realizes gains while it’s resting.
During this initial period (3 months or so), you will be learning what your body responds to and what it doesn’t. You’ll also be learning to listen to your body. You can make slight modifications (in duration and/or intensity) to your program. Subtlety is the key in these modifications. If you feel good, you can gradually increase your time and ease your way into adding more vertical to your workouts. Many beginners make the mistake of getting very excited and overtraining. This is not only counterproductive, but also runs the risk of souring your attitude toward any future training.
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