watch videos of some of the best mountain trail runners in the world compete in the Golden Trail series, usually about marathon distance. you will see power hikers and runners maintaining the same pace on steep climbs. in interviews, some people( both men and women) say “I never hike, I always run”. some say ” I find power hiking more efficient”. I do not believe there is a right or wrong answer. also, watch videos of elite Spartan racers competing at places like Big Bear, Mammoth and Lake Tahoe. before you scoff at Spartan, elites like Atkins and Webster are top performers in trail races like Broken Arrow, and they also cross over into Skimo( and do very well). power hiking vs running is intentional with these runners, and Spartan coverage on YouTube is excellent. watch how the “walkers” and “runners” maintain the same pace. my advice for you is: be less concerned with whether you are hiking or running the steeps, focus more on efficient climbing based on your personal physiology and fitness.
I took part in a 50k trail race this Saturday. Was always in the front of the pack and while I felt good and in control throughout most of the race, I was sort of annoyed at how longer the steps of many of the other runners were compared to mine. Both power hiking and running uphill, their steps were so much larger and powerful. In some uphills, I actually had to run with a very high cadence to keep up with them, all while they were power hiking without much apparent effort. If I tried to switch to power hiking, the gap would immediately start to increase, and I’d fall behind.
It puzzled me a bit, as I kept thinking that given my weight (I’m 5’7 and around 123lbs) and maxVo2 (75 ml/kg/min) I should have enough power to propel me up the inclines and chase the other guys (who were heavier than me). But I just didn’t have much power, it’s like I always had to keep at higher gears and with a very high cadence.
I’ve noticed this gets worse when I run/race very early in the morning, although it gets better as the run progresses. It seems the later I run in the day, the longer and more powerful my steps are.
I’m not sure what might be causing this and how to increase my step length. Could it be a lack of general strength? Low muscular endurance? Could it have something to do with not yet having enough carbs being delivered to my muscles, as it was very early and I had only had my breakfast 1h earlier?
Thank you everyone!
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