Focusing on total ascent is sort of like focusing on any other single metric such as time, calories burned or distance. I think you could improve things by combining vertical gain with other criteria such as steepness of slope (you could work out 3 different slopes, say- mild, moderate and steep), rate of ascent if you have an altimeter, heart rate and breathing. Then with modulation, progression and consolidation, adding weight for ME and so on, I am sure you will come out the other end a lot fitter than going in.
Is elevation gain per week an important metric?
I’ve been motivated by and focused a lot on elevation gain per week as a metric to measure my fitness. But I’m wondering if it matters as much as I think.
Going up steep hills will slow my pace when I keep in the same HR zone, but in flatter terrain I can move faster. So will the pace difference make up for the difference in elevation gain?
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