6 Things You Need to Know to Crush the Grouse Grind
Do you do the Grind always hoping to reach a new personal best, but find that you are stuck at a plateau? There are usually two main reasons you are staying at the same level. Firstly, your body and your mind are no longer challenged. Secondly, you are fatigued. To power through this plateau Lifemoves suggests you try these 6 steps:
1. Change Your Training Routine
Many seem to do the Grind multiple times per week and wonder why they have plateaued. It's because your body is used to the challenge. Do the Grind once or twice per week. Try something different the other six days like doing a strength training session during the week, using a 400 meter track to do some speed work, incorporating some agility and quickness drills or substituting swimming or spinning one or two times per week.
2. Train Anaerobic Threshold
The Grind is primarily an aerobic-anaerobic activity for those who are trying to push their limits. Our Lactate Threshold is that balance point where we are able to balance the production of lactic acid with its conversion for energy, ATP. Do a 1-5 minute interval at a higher pace, then recover at a lower heart rate for the same period of time. Repeat 3-5 times during the Grind.
3. Recover Efficiently
Give yourself sufficient time and nutrients between Grinds to recover. This an endurance event which uses carbohydrates as the primary fuel source. It takes 48 to 72 hours and the proper pre and post nutrition planning. Take at least two days between Grinds or maybe even a week of alternate activities that are less intense. Have a massage, go for a easy recovery swim or cycle, have an Epsom salt bath, use the infrared sauna or take a few Yoga classes. Keep track of your resting heart rate by measuring your heart in the morning after lying quietly for at least 5 minutes. If you notice it going up by 3-5 beats then you know you are not recovering efficiently.
4. Warm-Up Properly
Hikers too often either use static stretching or just start up the grind without adequately warming up. Use Dynamic Stretches (movement) and a light to moderate jog for at at least 5 minutes before starting. This gets the muscles and joints warm and elevates your heart rate
5. Change Your Approach Strategy
Stop doing the Grind the same way and expecting different results. Use the terrain and other hikers to do fartlek intervals. Go faster on the flatter, less steep sections, use quick short footsteps, landing and pushing off on the balls of your feet; try speeding for 10-30 seconds or as you pass people (as long as it is safe to do so) or use terrain and landmarks to vary your cadence (tree to tree, sprint to the 1/4 sign, etc.). Another alternative is to gradually increase your pace as you progress. As the grind progresses, also increase your pace.
6. Try a Different Day or Time
Instead of Saturday, go on Sunday or instead of 10:00 AM go at 9:30 AM. These small interruptions in routine may be enough to enliven your climb and make life a little more interesting. Going early or late in the day when it is coolest will help keep you cool.
As well, we recommend you be comfortable with a few different things. It's important to note that not every time is going to be a personal best. As well, changes in cardiovascular fitness happen over 6-12 weeks. Finally, the fitter you are, the more challenging it is going to be see improvements. A 5-10% improvement is outstanding while minimizing your risk of over-training or injury.
Bonus: Hike the Line of Best Fit
Do you remember high school science class when you learned to graph? Plotting the date and then drawing a straight line? That line was the line of best fit. Apply this to the Grind by taking approaching that achieves the best straight line that you can.
Let us know if these tips helped you break your plateau. Please leave your comments and any questions below about training that you want answered in future articles.
Original Image by Vancouver Lifestyle Blogger Sacha DeVortez