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Training for Something Different, How?

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Training for Something Different, How?

Old 03-12-08, 07:40 AM
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Training for Something Different, How?

I have what may be the opportunity of a lifetime, or the worse idea in the world. I have been invited to do the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim hike in Oct of this year. It's about 25 miles with a 6000' decent from the north rim, about 13 miles across the bottom and then a 4400' ascent to the south rim. The trip basically is decend and hike some on first day, cross the canyon bottom on the second day, and climb out on the third day. I'm guess I would be carrying a ~40lb pack. So, two questions.

Are any of you folks avid hikers and have you ever done this trip? What to expect.

How do you train for this? Hike alot? climb stairs? Join a gym?

I'm not sure I want to give up alot of summer riding to train and I don't think riding helps all that much for this kind of event. I know that on short hikes with my wife, the hills kill my calves very quickly.
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Old 03-12-08, 07:48 AM
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Why would you carry so much?
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Old 03-12-08, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by HopedaleHills View Post
I have what may be the opportunity of a lifetime, or the worse idea in the world. I have been invited to do the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim hike in Oct of this year. It's about 25 miles with a 6000' decent from the north rim, about 13 miles across the bottom and then a 4400' ascent to the south rim. The trip basically is decend and hike some on first day, cross the canyon bottom on the second day, and climb out on the third day. I'm guess I would be carrying a ~40lb pack. So, two questions.

Are any of you folks avid hikers and have you ever done this trip? What to expect.

How do you train for this? Hike alot? climb stairs? Join a gym?
I'm not a hiker, and I haven't done this whole trip, but I did hike out of the Grand Canyon a few years ago after rafting the Colorado River halfway through the Canyon. It was hard, and I wasn't carrying anything on my back except a day pack (mules hauled our stuff out.)

My "training" was to go to a spa the week before the rafting trip, and walk up a 10-mile long hill every day for that week. Then we did a few hikes during the 5-day rafting trip.

My advice for the hike back up the canyon is to start very early in the day. We couldn't start till about noon, since we had to raft to the camping area (can't remember the name of it) in the morning, and it was very hot at the bottom of the canyon.

Sounds like fun, though!
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Old 03-12-08, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by The Smokester View Post
Why would you carry so much?
I don't know? I've never done a three day hike before, so I am just guessing.
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Old 03-12-08, 08:53 AM
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Not a hiker but former runner. I would focus on comfortable hiking shoes and getting used to them to prevent blisters and getting your back in shape to handle the load.
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Old 03-12-08, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by HopedaleHills View Post
I don't know? I've never done a three day hike before, so I am just guessing.
I would train by finding as many long hills to go up and down as possible. Note that going down can be very hard on the knees if you have not built up muscles.

Also, try to carry as little as possible. Will this be a "sagged" hike or do you need to carry everything?
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Old 03-12-08, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by The Smokester View Post
I would train by finding as many long hills to go up and down as possible. Note that going down can be very hard on the knees if you have not built up muscles.

Also, try to carry as little as possible. Will this be a "sagged" hike or do you need to carry everything?
Not sagged, we will be on our own.

I work on the 6th floor of our building, would doing the stairs a couple times a day help with the up/down muscles?
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Old 03-12-08, 09:27 AM
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I've not done the Grand Canyon but have hiked extensively in the Rockies. I have trained a number of clients to hike the Sierra Pacific Trail. Hermes' advice about shoes is smart. Buy them and start wearing them soon.

For training, alternate using a stair machine and a treadmill at an incline. Twice a week ought to be enough for now -- one week concentrate on the treadmill, the stair machine the next week. Add distance and intensity gradually. Get fitted for the backpack you'll be carrying and gradually fill it with the amount of weight you intend to carry, and wear that during your workouts.

After your workouts be sure to stretch, especially your calves, since they seem to be a problem area for you. Cycling is terrific cross-training, and you can incorporate strength training for your legs with some high-gear drills, sprint intervals, and hill climbing.

Your trip sounds like fun. I bet you'll have a blast.

Good luck!
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Old 03-12-08, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by HopedaleHills View Post
Not sagged, we will be on our own.

I work on the 6th floor of our building, would doing the stairs a couple times a day help with the up/down muscles?
That is good but it is not the same as walking down a long continuous slope...The knees can really get beat up on a long downhill slope.
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Old 03-12-08, 09:53 AM
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I would also suggest getting one or two hiking poles. I bought one for each of us last year and we used them a lot last summer while hiking in Sequoia, Yosemite and Mammoth. I messed up one of my knees skiing moguls decades ago and that knee had really been bothering me when climbing or decending. Using the the poles made a huge difference. Also helps with balance which will be a bonus when carrying a pack.

I picked up these: http://www.swissbottle.com/ViewProdu...Number=SG66201 at Walmart for $15 each. There are more expensive ones out there but these seem to be holding up well, are fairly light and have springs in them to absorb some of the shock. Only problem we've had was the baskets coming unscrewed. I just glued them in place and they've been fine every since.

Grand Canyon is an amazing place, you will have a blast!
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Old 03-12-08, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by The Smokester View Post
That is good but it is not the same as walking down a long continuous slope...The knees can really get beat up on a long downhill slope.
I think the stair will be a good starter, if for no other reason than the cardio.

I'd also try using your Hopedale Hills. Find a nice steep one and spend as much time going up and down that hill as you anticipate your hike in the Grand Canyon will take. Of course start out lighter than a full load and a shorter time and work your way up. A local in Arkansas used Pinnacle Mountain near Little Rock to serve as a training course to get ready to climb Mt. Rainier.
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Old 03-12-08, 12:03 PM
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Used to be a mountain climbing instructor and The hint about building up the calve muscle is worthwhile- Down the gym and walk on the treadmill at 6mph up inclines. That will help you up hills- but build up the quads to save the knees going down.

I am also guessing hot. So Find a sauna and exercise in the sauna. Drink lots of liquids and find an Isotonic drink that you like. Better if it is powder form. AND--I won't make the comment that 25 miles in 3 days does sound a bit gentle- Even to me now.
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Old 03-12-08, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
AND--I won't make the comment that 25 miles in 3 days does sound a bit gentle- Even to me now.
Hey stapfam, thanks for NOT commenting on that. But really, it's only the last 8 or so miles that concerns me. I have read that if it's a hot day that climb out with a pack on your back can be a bi**h. I have read several accounts that say the last 5 miles can take 5 hours.

OTOH, I came across an article about two guys who jogged the entire trip in 6.5 hrs. You should have seen their heart rate monitor readouts. They are known as extreme runners. I, however would have a different name for them.
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Old 03-12-08, 12:25 PM
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I have done a lot of backpacking as a Boy Scout leader and the two best suggestions posted were 1. Train with the pack and weight you are going to carry; 2. Get hiking poles either two or one which ever you prefer. The difference in altitude could be an issue depending on where you live now and what you are used to. By all means make sure you have hiking boots that have broken in and comfortable.
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Old 03-12-08, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by HopedaleHills View Post
Hey stapfam, thanks for NOT commenting on that. But really, it's only the last 8 or so miles that concerns me. I have read that if it's a hot day that climb out with a pack on your back can be a bi**h. I have read several accounts that say the last 5 miles can take 5 hours.

OTOH, I came across an article about two guys who jogged the entire trip in 6.5 hrs. You should have seen their heart rate monitor readouts. They are known as extreme runners. I, however would have a different name for them.
It is not so much the heat that will hit you- as you can train for that. But at that temperature- you will be taking more than 1 litre of water an hour. That will be sweating out of you taking salts and when salts go- more drink required and energy will go. Keep up the salt intake- and 1 litre of water wighs 2.2 lbs- 5 litres is 11lb to carry. And that may not be enough. So It is that last 8 miles or so you will have to train for. I do not walk or hike now- due to the knees- but that is my problem.

The aside is that I hoped you would explain why you were taking such a gentle stroll- But it is obviously building up to that last 8 miles. Wish you luck.
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Old 03-12-08, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
I am also guessing hot. So Find a sauna and exercise in the sauna. Drink lots of liquids.

That's good advice. If you are not used to exercising in heat, you can be surprised at how much liquid that you need and you will be surprised that by the time you are thirsty, it may already be too late. My rule of thumb in the desert in the summer was drink 20 minutes ahead of when you will be thirsty. And eat fruit to keep your mineral levels up.
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Old 03-12-08, 05:42 PM
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October is good month for that hike.
At the south rim (about 7,000 elevation, north rim 8,000 elevation) it can be cool in early morning, even down to near freezing. However at bottom of canyon it can still be quite warm by mid-afternoon.
Our bike club used to host a hike down the south side and up the north side of the canyon. Then their bikes would be waiting at the north rim to pedal back to the south rim. If iI recall it was a 4-day event. Talk about hardcore!
Am not much of a hiker but have tandemed from Grand Canyon to Mexico 5 times, all of the rides were at end of Sept/early Oct. to avoid weather extremes.
Temps have varied from 27 degrees (at Mormon Lake near Flagstaff) to near 100 degrees by the time you approached the Mexico border.
Stair training and excellent footgear (well broken in) are good suggestions. Also some altitude training if possible. Some folks tend to lose energy/stamina due to lack of oxygen at those hogher altitudes.
Count on drinkimg much more than what you are used on account of much lower humidity. And pare down the weight of that pack by at leasty half.
Have a son that hiked down the canyon from the south rim and ran back up to the south rim. He had a great time, but had some sore leg muscles the next morning!
Good luck!
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Old 03-12-08, 06:35 PM
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I did it in one day 30 years ago, but I was a runner with about 10 percent body fat. It would kill me now...
Forty pounds seems like a lot of weight, both going down and coming up. The downhill was tough for me, and extra weight will really pound your knees and ankles. It may be cold at the north rim, but weather at the bottom is likely to be warm, so you probably don't need much sleeping gear (I'm assuming you're self-contained and camping. If not, you don't need anywhere near 40 lbs of stuff). Ditch everything you can--I wouldn't take much but a stowable jacket, extra socks and something to keep off a possible rain shower, maybe only a big trash bag. If you have to carry your own water, though, don't skimp.
Be sure your boots are very well broken in, at least a month or two old and with lots of miles on them, and that they fit. Your toes will jam up on the descent and you'll get blisters on their tips if your boots aren't right.
As for training...I didn't start cycling seriously until my running days were over, so I'm guessing at some of this, but I haven't really seen much transfer (other than aerobic capacity) between running and riding. I lived in the Sierra Nevada when I did the hike, and trained by walking or jogging up to 15 miles at a crack, three or four times a week. Get up to it slowly, though--the usual rules about adding no more than 10 percent a week should apply. I'd also carry a pack for some of the training, so you can get used to that. You don't want to try anything new on the hike itself.
It's a significant walk, and I found that the further we got into the canyon, the less we could see. I don't know if I'd do it again, but I'm glad to have done it once.
For what it's worth, the record for a double crossing, rim to rim to rim, is just under seven hours.
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Old 03-12-08, 10:09 PM
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I agree with most of what has been recommended so far, in particular using hiking poles. I used to enjoy mountain climbing and as I got older found that hiking poles were invaluable for descents. It is amazing how much pressure they can relieve from the knees. They are also helpful on ascents.

You should be able to get by with a 15 pound pack for a hike like this. All you need is a change of underwear and socks, a light sleeping bag, a minimalist tent, and food for the trip. I did many overnight climbs with a 40 pound pack where 30 pounds of the load was climbing gear. Shave down to only those things that you know you need to use on this trip. Your feet, knees, and back will thank you for it.

Most of all, have fun!
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Old 03-12-08, 10:25 PM
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My wife and I hiked down the South Kaibab Trail and back up Bright Angel a couple of years ago. Spent two nights in the canyon and did a day hike in between. It's a fairly strenuous hike, but most active people should have no real issues with it...though you will be sore after the hike down. Going back up is much easier.

A few training hikes on steep terrain will help, I'd think. We did our hike in early May which I think is pretty close to October in terms of weather. Be aware that it will be much warmer at the bottom than on the rim. When we started our hike it was 32 degrees; it was 80 when we reached the river. Layers, anyone?

All I can say is I wish I were coming along. There are really no words to describe the Grand Canyon..."awesome" and "majestic" seem trite when you're actually looking at the Canyon. Seeing it from the inside, not just the rim, is an experience not to be missed...
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Old 03-13-08, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by HopedaleHills View Post
I don't know? I've never done a three day hike before, so I am just guessing.
Are you carrying your own water?
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