Jim, i really enjoyed your article. it helped me realize what was going on inside. now i know what all the pain is about. the only time i've felt more pain was when i was lying on the operating table for my third knee operation, and the doctor said, Mr Wilson, your competitive sports days are over. it wasn't exactly pain, but it was very painful. i wish i could still run.
To prepare for archery hunting, the last few years I have been stair climbing. I have some 4 level stairs up the hill from my house.
I would start in the spring and do this until fall.
The first year I climbed with a backpack with 25 pounds in it. To build more back muscles, and enhance the work out on my legs. I would just climb at a walking speed. Then I added 50 pounds to the backpack, I strained some muscles and had to stop the regimine.
This exercise would build the leg and back muscles but I didnt seem to have alot of endurance or energy. And still struggled to keep up with my hunting partner.
The second year I sluffed off and gained alot of weight.
The third year I worked my tail off, to loose the weight. I lost the back pack and started running the stairs. This really helped my endurance in the fall, I felt really good and had alot of energy. Climbed some rough country elk and chuckar hunting. Had fun.
This year I could keep up with my hunting partner easily, until he had his heart attack.
Now I'm continuing the cycle of laziness, putting on about 10 pounds. I have already decided I'm going to go at it hard this year. Not give up, its all about will power. I always have more fun when I have the endurance and energy to hunt.
Three years ago while living in Abq. NM I trained for a NM mule deer and CO elk hunt and did okay, but just okay. I could walk a good pace for 2 miles at 6000 feet. Thinking I would be in fair shape for the hunt I never pushed it. At 50 I did not need a heart attack. I did far until I hit 10,000 feet or so and I would run out of air at 13,000.
The next two years I was living in Oklahoma and again could walk 2 plus miles at a good pace and have no issues. When I hit the mountains I could not walk 200 yards without gasping for air. My legs were okay, but I had to stop and rest and catch my breath.
At 13,000 feet just getting off the ATV and putting on the backpack winded me.
It is so hard I have considered not going back. Key word considered. I am going to give it another go this year and work harder getting the heart rate up there as you suggest. My knees will not let me run (I broke a knee cap two years ago on an elk hunt in CO). Maybe a bike would be easer on my knees? I was even thinking maybe take the ATV to the trail head and then take a bike on up to more remote country.
Great article. I was just talking to my hunting buddy about an Wyo. Elk hunting trip we have planned this fall. I told him I was starting to work out to prepare for the hunt. This article gives me the info needed to train properly for this hunt and others to come. Appreciate the info.
Hunting in the hills is hard and can be dangerous. It is not for everyone, for sure. Steve (sscoyote) have taken people to hunt with us in the mountains that we wish we would have never taken. Fortunately no one ever got hurt. Because of a bad right knee, I don't run anymore. Just after the first of the year I have been at the gym in the early AM 5 days a week. I will spend an hour to an 11/2 on the elipitcal machine, walking and then a hour long spin class on Tues & Thurs.
When the weather is nice I will ride my road bicycle around 30 miles for a workout. I will end up doing a couple of 60+ and 100 mile rides through the spring and summer. Steve and I pack out our elk and deer on frame packs, so we make sure we are in good enough condition to do so.
I can't emphasize physical prep enough. The better shape you are in, the more enjoyable and likely a safer hunt.
Ernie (xphunter) "The Un-Tactical"