Hiking Not Blogging

The weather in Seattle suddenly got really nice. This means I stepped out of hibernation and did some urban hiking. When it comes to hiking in Seattle, I take a unique approach. While everyone else spends an hour or three driving east to some trail, I stay in the city. The idea of driving two to three hours just to hike one hour seems wasteful to me. Plus, the cops have so many speed traps on the hiking corridor that the idea of a stress-free afternoon in nature doesn’t really exist.

I’d rather hike in the city. Less driving, more hiking. Plus I can always stop for espresso along the way. Can’t do that in the mountains. 🙂

During the winter months I’d walk on average maybe 2 miles a day. Yesterday I did an 8 miler and today a 7 miler with little effort and no soreness. I’ll probably do a 10 miler later this week.



How can I ramp up the distance that fast with no aches and pains? High Intensity Training.

Once or twice a week I go to the gym and do a very slow set of leg presses. Sometimes I just load up the weight and perform a static hold. And if I don’t feel like going to the gym, I’ll do the Wall Sit exercise described in the Hillfit book. Unlike the days when I did barbell squats and dead lifts, I’m never injured. My joints and back feel great.

When I lived in San Diego I hiked all the time, yet now hiking is easier, because my legs are much stronger. Too many people think they need fancy shoes or poles or whatever they see being sold at REI. Nope. Double your leg strength and every hike gets twice as easy.

Speaking of Hillfit, version 2.0 has just been released. I have a copy and although I haven’t read it yet, it looks even more impressive than version 1.0. Version 2.0 has 70 more pages of content. If you are looking for an introduction to High Intensity Training, I highly recommend Hillfit. You can get super strong without risking injury and do it all from home – no gym equipment needed.

Hill Fit

Click here to visit Hillfit

Disclosure: I received a copy of Hillfit in exchange for feedback on a draft version. I’m also in an affiliate relationship with E-junkie.


Add yours

  1. I agree entirely. And I think so does Tim Noakes, one of the world’s foremost sports medicine researchers. He believes the greatest distance runners are great not because they have superior aerobic capacity but because they *also* have superior leg strength.

  2. Great point about increased strength reducing aches and pains. I did a 50K trail race in the mountains last weekend. My training was PtP and just three runs in the 13-14 mile range. I ran well, but the best part was having no lingering soreness or aching muscles and joints afterwards. When my training centered on lots of running and little else I would be beat up for days afterwards. Getting stronger protects your body!

  3. Joseph Thorpe

    Apr 25, 2013 — 7:21 pm

    I am curious if you ever did your experiment with Drew Baye’s body weight squats? I tried them quite a few times but have decided to stop. They are certainly very intense, but I don’t like the biomechanics of them. Compared to wall sits, I find it very difficult to focus on scorching the legs while simultaneously maintaining proper squat form, especially during the 3 second static holds. I much prefer the Wall Sit because you can focus exclusively on going to complete failure.
    I also like the mechanics of doing very slow squats with a 40lb weight vest or dumbbell. I find the overall feel to be far superior to Drew Baye’s body weight squats and nearly as intense. I find it is easier to maintain perfect form by not doing a static hold at any point.
    For a really intense leg workout I like to do the very slow squats, followed by the wall sit. After doing both I have no doubt I never need to do traditonal back squats again.
    Thanks for being my inspiration to discover these two great exercises!

  4. @Joseph – In the winter months, I stick to the machines. So I haven’t experimented with Baye’s exercises.

    I created something similar to what you do, which I call a Park Squat. I do a slow body weight + kettlebell squat for a few reps, then I drop the KB and finish with a static hold. Your version sounds better though.

  5. Joseph Thorpe

    Apr 27, 2013 — 9:19 am

    what shoes do you wear for urban hiking? Also what is your opinion on the barefoot vs. shoe debate? Do you agree with the theory that heavy duty hiking or running shoes promote foot instability and weakness? Is there an ideal compromise between going barefoot and wearing hiking shoes?

  6. @Joseph – I have thinner soled shoes. Currently Merril. Not as thin as I would like, but I found the shoes that are super thin fall apart too fast.

    As for the debate, I’m a fan of experimentation. Here is a post I did in 2009 on the topic.


    I have found that a thinner sole promotes a shorter stride which results in less aches and pains. But I also don’t run, so I can’t speak to that sport.

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