Zone 2 Run – Weighted Hike or Run

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  • #47249

    Hey all,

    I am in my second week of an Uphill Athlete training plan. I am wondering what people think is more beneficial for alpine climbing, to use this workout to run or to instead do a weighted hike up a steep hill.

    Personally, my body feels that I may actually gain more from a weighted hike as staying in my Zone 2 heart rate would require hiking up hill anyway. Additionally, hiking with the added weight is a more realistic simulation of what I am training for anyway: alpine climbing.

    Does anyone have any input into why running might be a better way to build aerobic base than steep hiking? I have to admit, one factor that plays into it is I would much rather do a slower hike up a steep hill at the same heart rate as a run after work :p

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    Anonymous on #47280

    While you can substitute weighted hiking for running, none of our plans recommend weighted hiking in the first few weeks. We normally reserve that until after the transition and base periods. Running is a more useful modality for many because they don’t have access to steep terrain. Trail running is the preferred training method of most of the top alpinists I’ve worked with. It transfers over very well to alpine climbing. However if a high volume of running might lead to an injury for you then a mix of running and hiking will be best.

    The only time I would recommend weighted hikes in the early stages of a training plan is if the athlete did not have ADS. If you have ADS then ditch the pack and just work on improving your aerobic base before adding weight.


    Aaron on #47339

    I do lots of my zone 2 work as steeper hill hikes, but with no weight. I find hiking pace uphill can easily be metered to be in zone 2, then generally running on flats and downhill (where the eccentric load I find really helps with mountain pursuits). I may have less fitness, but never had a hard time not getting into z2 with steeper hiking, in fact, I have to be careful to avoid Z3). I keep the weighted work to specific ME/zone3 targets. I tend to use flat running for Z1/R work goals.

    mikemayen0 on #47356

    Thanks for the replies!

    I guess I was confused because in the training plan (NF of Eiger) it mentions that hill hikes can be substituted, but to add weight in the Zone 2 run descriptions. But it makes sense to not add weight to ensure that you are building your base correctly.

    I agree with Aaron, that pretty much any running up hills for me at this point is pushing into Zone 3. I think I will go with the hiking the hills and running flats and downhills (I essentially do this when trail running for the most part anyway).

    Anonymous on #47987

    UPHILL: Very few humans can run uphill below AeT. 99% of people walk.

    DOWNHILL: Don’t try and stay at AeT on descents. It’s too hard on your legs and muscle soreness will compromise future sessions.

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