Running as Half Dome training

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

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     I am often told by people at my talks that they are in shape for Half Dome because they are a runner. Are they? Let’s take a look. I’ve done one marathon (Avenue of the Giants in Humbolt) and finished before they took the signs down. 4 hrs 52 minutes. 

     I had to shift into low gear when I realized that the roads would be opened up and the photographer would be leaving after 5 hours. I plowed on and have the photo. Whew.  I love running –or more like jogging – now and the knees are doing fine. I think the secret is to buy very very good running shoes. My ASIC Keyano’s are about $130.  Then try to run on a track, dirt or asphalt. Much more “give” on these surfaces than concrete. Still there is a lot of pressure on the joints. Hiking is WAY better as is Nordic Walking.

     Running is a super way to get your heart rate up fast and burn the fat. Hiking uses different muscles than raw endurance running.  The uphill and downhill muscles are not used much in running. I often run my local hiking trails – but I only run the uphills.  I walk the downs to preserve my knees. Funny that I do a 2-hour hike only about 15 minutes faster when I run. Seems the steep uphills are more like running in place! The elevated heart rate from running is way better for cardiovascular health.  I like to strap on a heart rate monitor to keep tabs on the ticker.  Jeff Galloway, a marathon top finisher from 20 years ago actually proposes a run-walk-run method of doing a marathon.  Like run for  a mile, walk for a minute. Turns out his students actually fared better than those who grunted it out the whole 26 miles.  Here we are talking about amateurs like you and me. Another fun thing is to alternate runing, skipping, jumping, hopping and sprinting. It breaks up the monotony.

    If you decide to tdo some running as part of your cross training program, here are suggestions. Recent research says the it’s better for your body system to do intervals. So run HARD for about a minute then walk for a minute. If you are running in your neighborhood, sprint for 3 telephone poles and walk for one. The idea is to get your heart rate way up – then let it come back down. That recovery period is where you “make you money.”    So I’d say give it a try – for cross-training. But Half Dome is a marathon of hiking. So be sure you mostly do real world hill hiking. 16-miles round trip and a mile up and down. That will test your meddle.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” – Lou Holtz

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch –


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