|Trekking poles basics: Trekking poles enable users to actively engage the upper body in highly technical trail running and mountaineering, thus recruiting the upper body muscle mass. As a result, exercise intensity increases, muscle strength, endurance and cardio-respiratory efficiency improves, while reducing stress on the knees, ankles and hips. I first became interested in trekking poles after reading an article in a fitness journal about the increased efficiency [roughly 27% more efficient] as a result of using trekking poles vice simply hiking or running. Trekking poles are permitted in some ultra runs like the Leadville Trail 100...I have seen a marked increase in trekking pole use year over year in ultra races.|
Recommended trekking pole workout: Locate a mountain trail or incline (use freeway overpasses in flat terrain). For example, before moving to Colorado I used Old Rag as a training trail. Strap on your heart rate monitor, load your backpack with enough weight to add the appropriate level of difficulty for your training objective and fitness level. Press the incline until your heart rate monitor indicates you are at your lactate acid thresholds (LT). If you do not own a heart rate monitor, you can use the "talk test" in which you are performing at the level you do not feel comfortable talking with your training partner. After you top out, descend and repeat depending on training goals and length of ascent.
Bottom Line: Using trekking poles increases the cardio-respiratory intensity, conditions your upper body muscle groups and is excellent preparation for longer adventure races.
Trekking Pole Tip #1: You will want to shorten your trekking poles as you head into steeper terrain so that you have valid support in front of you and the opposite when you are descending.
Trekking Pole Tip #2:: When using trekking poles run your hand up through the bottom of the loop and have the strap rest on your wrist which allows you to lightly grab the pole and use the strap for better leverage and reduced hand fatigue.
Other gear and gear recommendation for adventure racing and backcountry travel:
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