Strenuous hiking = running?


I just got back from THE BEST honeymoon ever. Scott and I spent 10 days in the Canadian Rockies – staying at the Post Hotel in Lake Louise and Alpine Village Lodge in Jasper.  Every minute of it was amazing. Seriously.  If I could figure out a way for us not to work and just go live in the Canadian Rockies all year, we would!

Scott and I are both very active – me with marathons, Scott with 100 mile mountain bike races. The timing of the honeymoon had me a little bit anxious because I’m eyeing a January marathon (stay tuned!) and week one of my 18 week training plan started on Day One of our honeymoon. I knew we would be too busy with hiking for me to also squeeze in running, so I just resigned myself to 10 days off of running and figured I’d do a 17 week training plan.  I wasn’t too worried about it, because I figured a week off of running would be good for me.

So while we were on vacation I posted some pictures of one of our particularly grueling hiking days (at Lake O’Hara – the hike to Lake McArthur via Big Larches and High Alpine Route and returning via Low Alpine Route and Alpine Meadows) on Facebook.  I also said, “Despite rain, sleet and a snow storm (and 30 degree temps), we hiked 8 miles of the HARDEST hiking I’ve ever done. I was terrified on the rocky high alpine climb to Lake McArthur (with wet rocks!) But we saw mountain goats at the top so I’m glad we did it. Loved, loved, loved Lake O’Hara.”  A trail running friend of mine commented on my post “Sounds like trail running to me . . . just saying”.

Which got me thinking that maybe my week “off” of running really wasn’t a week off.  So I started googling and reading and the consensus seems to be that although strenuous hiking is DIFFERENT than running, it’s akin to running and in some ways a better running type workout (working different muscles, going up and down crazy steep inclines, being out there for longer). I have to say, I agree! I mean, just look at the photos above.  We didn’t drive to these views. We hiked UP mountains to get to these amazing views. That has to count as a running like workout! Our hiking days were between 6 miles and 14 miles each day, ranging from several hours to almost 9 hours one day.  True, we stopped for a crazy amount of pictures and snacks, but we were on our feet working out butts off for a LONG time each day.  And the huffing and puffing that I was doing going up the trails was way more intense than my breathing during marathons, or even intervals.  I strava’ed (is that a verb now?) most of our hikes and we logged 51+ miles of intense hiking in a week.  Compared to the 38 miles of running I did the week before.  I’ll take it!

On to marathon training!  (And stay tuned for a detailed trip report with more photos soon!)

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