To conserve energy and to move at your best, you must focus some of your training on power hiking for ultrarunning events. In this guide, we’ll cover some power hiking basics and how you can improve your technique.

Table of Contents

Power Hiking For Ultrarunning

Hiking During A Ultra Running Event

Hiking is often labeled as the dirty secret of the trail running world; this is mainly due to posts you might see on social media or in trail running magazines. You will rarely ever see a magazine cover with someone walking or hiking on a trail. However, that does not mean that trail runners of all ability levels don’t do it. Granted, if trail running, on shorter, lighter trail runs, there might not be a need to hike, yet you will have to walk on more technical and longer courses with steep climbs.

Nevertheless, there can be a big difference between how fast people hike when it comes to hiking. This difference can turn something fast and efficient into a total waste of time. Therefore you need to know how do you hike with a purpose?

Correct Power Hiking For Ultrarunning Events

First, much like running uphill, lean forward. Farther forward than your would when running, you pretty much want to touch the trail with your nose – not really, but you get my meaning. Even farther. Wonderful. Any time power-hiking uphill, you ought to feel as though you’re pretty much parallel to the ground (even when you are, in fact, not even close).

The ability to hike fast during a race can significantly impact your overall time—no point in running the flat segments at 8 minutes per mile. If you lose 10 minutes per mile on the hiking sections because your technique is awful, you will soon be overtaken by better hikers when you’re running slower on the flats.

Video On Power Hiking For Ultrarunning

Perfecting your power hiking technique can be a problem if you live in a city or a flat area. However, there are ways around this; go and look at our article on weighed vest power hiking training for some cool tips.

Weighted Vest Can Improve Hiking Strength

Weighted vest hiking is a great way to cross-train for ultra-running events and helps build strength in the muscles used. I recommend trying a 10kg vest for longer hikes or a little more after becoming more proficient. A weighted vest can add extra stimulus to shorter uphill hikes if you don’t live in an area with plenty of elevation gain. Weighted vests add resistance while you’re hiking, increasing the intensity of your walk and helping to build strength in the legs and core and improve balance on the trail.

If you don’t have a weighted vest or don’t want to buy one, use a backpack and fill it with bottles of water or some heavy rocks for the same effect. Start slow until you get used to hiking with the extra weight and your body adapts to wearing one.

How To Mimic Power Hiking If You Live In A Flat Area

If you don’t have access to a hilly area, use shorter strides with a higher frequency and maximize your push-off on the balls of your feet when you walk even up shorter hills. Find a hill near you, even if it is short, and do hiking hill repeats on this hill. This is a great way to build strength and power up any short hills you encounter during your runs.

If you’re a member of a gym, then take advantage of the commercial-grade treadmills with a high adjustable incline. Crack it up to the highest incline and engage in power walking and hiking for 30-60 minutes. Whilst treadmills can’t replicate the unevenness of hiking trails, it is better than not doing any hiking. Doing this regularly (once a week) will help improve your power hiking strength and ultimately help you become a better runner.

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