Low impact, incline cardio

Hello folks,

I wanted to start this thread by introducing myself to the forum. My name is Kevin Guillen, I work for Wilderness Athlete and have likely spoken with many of you on the phone, via email, or at our booth at a Train To Hunt event. I hope this forum becomes a place where we can share experiences, plan group workouts, and improve as wilderness athletes. 

I wanted to share a cardio technique that has helped me deal with shin splints, and also improves my leg strength and hiking stamina. I used to run on pavement, tracks, and treadmills with regularity. It seemed like out of nowhere I learned first hand what shin splint pain was all about. Needless to say my search for the right running shoe and improved form is a fluid situation (currently accepting any and all recommendations)...

Not wanting to neglect cardio workouts, I began walking/jogging on the treadmill at full incline to minimize the impact on my shins and still get the heart thumping. What I have found so far is that I am able to get in much longer and more frequent periods of cardio without making my shins feel like they are going to explode. My quad and calf strength also saw a notable gain once I began using a weighted pack during my workouts. Since few of us jog for extended periods while hunting, this approach to cardio seems to result in better hunting stamina. While I don't suffer from knee problems, I imagine one struggling with knee inflammation and pain would also benefit from this approach. 

I'd love to hear if anyone has had similar success or has any recommendations on how to make this type of exercise more dynamic. I'm always looking for ways to get up the mountain quicker and stronger.

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  • Variable inclines and declines make for the best cardio. If all I have available is a treadmill, I try to randomize an incline/decline course for a fixed time period. Living in WY I try to stay off the treadmill and use the natural terrain as much as possible. I don't like the incline only approach because I've never been in the elk or deer woods and only had an uphill journey.

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  • Sounds great Kevin, I think I am going to start incorporating some weighted pack, treadmill incline into my workouts.....

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  • I run alot, over 500 miles so far this year. I had issues with shin splints and calves. Tried more shoes, insoles, and sleeves than I could ever tell my wife about. I found salomon speedcross 3's about 9 months ago. Best shoe I have ever owned!!!! Not a calf cramp, shin splint or blister since. I have done 4 mud runs in the same pair this year. Only flaw is if you are forced to run on pavement, like a lot of use are, they melt. I probably get about 150 which isn't fantastic but worth it to me! Amazon is a great place to find them, not to expensive. Fit true to size, but not a huge toe box. Hope that helps.
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  • I am going to try the incline cardio on the treadmill. Never thought of that. My driveway is about half mile long and not a level spot on it. I may try to do multiple trips hauling a pack. I can also bush whack around my property. I think hiking game trails or bush whacking with a pack also helps prepare the body for the hunting. As far as shin splits, knee or foot fatigue, I started using Superfeet Insoles in all my shoes/boots. I read a blog from Kuiu's founder Jason Hairston about insoles. He made a good point about shoes and boots usually don't have the best insole from the factory. He evens goes to say Kuiu boots aren't sold with the best insoles and recommends Superfeet. I used to use Dr. Scholls athletic insoles, but they don't hold up. I can tell a big difference in using Superfeet insoles. I don't get the fatigue and soreness from training or everyday business.

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  • Dan^

    That is some serious mileage you are putting in. I will look into those speedcross 3's. Not long ago I picked up the Solomon Ultra 3's and love them, but I need a better insert to dampen the impact. 

    I know a hand full of guys using (and loving) running shoes made by Altra. Does anyone have any experience with those? They look wickedly comfortable...

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  • I've never suffered from shin splints to the affect of my running, but my two cents from experience is this. Proper form and techniques for any exercise leads to enhance gains over the life of an athlete. That being said, I had a conversation with an athlete today at Train to Hunt Oregon about running barefoot. I wear very high end work boots for extended periods of my day at work and on the property(Whites lace to toe smoke jumpers with no insole). When I work out I use Saucony Kinvara TR2 shoes and Vibram five fingers shoes. Very minimal cushion so that I am forced to land on the ball of my feet. Vibram has a very good section on they're website about foot care, stretches and breaking yourself into barefoot running.
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  • I live down in Texas, and running on flat concrete roads was a recipe for chin splints and low-intensity cardio. As of late I'm a big fan of HIIT cardio. The concept of intervals of very high intensity to low intensity has really made a difference in my cardio strength. And you can apply it to nearly any cardio machine. Treadmill, elliptical, etc. Only machine i have is an old Nordictrack skier. It has adjustable resistance, as well as 3 incline settings. I'm currently doing my HIIT cardio at the 2nd incline position with about 1/3 of the max resistance. It's proved to be a great way to get winded and burn calories.
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  • Kevin, I would look at the Hoka line of shoes. I run in the Rapa Nui 2 and they are excellent. They have a ton of cushion and I don't get shin splints or any cramping at all. These are designed for dirt/trail so they are similar to what Dan said above.....they melt on pavement. They do offer several road shoes if that is what you are running on.  

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