Monday, October 20, 2014

Reality Hike 103: Cyclical Walking Plan – An Introduction: 10/20/14 - 2055.1 to 2063 Miles

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The route continues along the Lochsa River next to Route 12 in eastern Idaho. The forests are getting even denser.

There are no services along this leg. However, the water in the Lochsa River is drinkable with filtering.

The road is still too narrow for a pushcart.

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This plan will encourage the body’s cycle of stress, rest, and recuperation. The plan gradually increases miles for two weeks and decreases the miles for two weeks. Every seventh day is a rest day. Yes, the plan is almost obnoxiously structured, but in my opinion, it will give the most training effect with the fewest miles. All the miles will be measured with a pedometer.

Stress, Rest, Recuperation

I’m assuming anyone considering this hike is acquainted with these terms, so this section is a reminder.

The body can do every day what it is accustomed to do every day. It can also do more for a limited number of days if asked to. The body will never improve if there is no demand to do more.

This cycle will start with a week of walking that should be easy. Then there will be two weeks of walking which will be a slight challenge. There shouldn’t be any fatigue except during a few days of the cycle. It’s not always the highest mile days.

The idea for the plan is to peek into fatigue with a few high mileage days a month and then back off from the fatigue. That’s not quite how it has been working for me. I feel a little more fatigue in the first and last week than I do in the middle two weeks. I don’t have an explanation, and it may be psychological. Your experience may be different.

Each cycle, the low day mileage will increase 0.5 miles and all the other distances will also increase.

Measuring Miles with a Pedometer

I’ve tried different methods of measuring miles and I found a pedometer is the simplest. I include all steps during the day, even those when I’m not taking a walk. Although these steps exaggerate the miles, I found training effect is higher for the random steps during the day. In other words, don’t worry that you are recording more miles than you actually walk.

I use a Fitbit Zip pedometer. It is usually $59, although you can find it for $49. I clip it so it hangs inside a pocket and then I forget about it. It sends the data to my computer. A cheap pedometer can work as well. There are probably smart phone options, but I don’t have a smart phone, so I can’t tell you about any.

A GPS didn't work for me. It doesn't accurately measure distance except when going in a generally straight line. It will underreport random steps. This is because it cuts corners each time it queries the satellites. I also forgot to bring it places, and the batteries don’t last long enough for a long walk. Other times, I’d forget to turn it off in the car.

This is one of those cases where good enough is good enough. A more accurate method won’t improve the training.

Pissing Wall

The cyclical walking schedule will get your body into a rhythm of stress, rest and recuperation. This should improve the training effect. It starts easy and will get harder every 28 days. It’s based on pedometer miles because that is the simplest and it’s good enough.

Yesterday's miles were easy. I decided to take my morning 5.1 mile walk today even though it is supposed to be a rest day. I enjoy the walk too much to give it up. Then I'll spend the rest of the day actively resting. Perhaps I'll even take a nap or two.

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