I live in Laramie, WY at 7200 and a friend comes from Columbus, OH (600-700) to hunt every year and we hit some good mountains. Even though I live here, I still run a lot. In fact both started training for this year on December 1. Sounds corny but we email each other about our work our to keep us honest. I think HIT (high intensity training) is the most important. I can run about 4 miles at a decent pace but I learned quickly the slow steady inclines will hurt you quick so you really got to press yourself to be ready. Here is a sample work out that I do at 7200 feet. run on a treadmill at 8.7 for 1 min 0 incline then with a 10 sec break (to set speed) I go 4.5 speed walk at 8 incline for a min then rest a min.... repeat till failure. I find this really helps my lungs. other days I will lift weights and do a 60 min walk at 5 incline. I have heard of people back east have gone as far as using a surgical or dust mask to limit oxygen when running/hiking but I think that is dangerous. I would just work sprints or going fast on a stepper into your work out and push yourself for quick recovery (interval training) and do plenty of squats or lunges and work in walking with a large incline.
I personal train for a living. Here is what I recommend if you would care to listen to my 2 cents. First of all, change your nutrition a bit. Lower your carb intake to teach your body to burn more fat as a fuel source. Get your carbs from mainly veggies and some fruit and limit the granola bars and crap that is out there. All they really are is glorified candy bars. I would recommend starting that about 6 months out. Then focus on lifting weights for our legs and train them heavy. Stick to the 8-10 rep range. The final piece is getting a backpack and or weight vest that has roughly 40-60 lbs of weight. Start training with that regularly on the stair master or put the incline as high as possible on a treadmill. I would get a mask like this in order to acclimate. http://www.trainingmask.com/products...-MASK-2.0.html.
Start with the 3,000 foot piece and build up to the 9,000-12,000 level. If you take care of these things before your hunt, you will be a rock star and you will feel much better on your trip. My uncle came out in CO for an elk hunt and didn't listen to a word I said. He just about passed out within an hour of our first days hike. The horses had to do everything for him. Terrible, so be prepped!
If I could only do two exercises to prepare for a mountain hunt I would choose free weight squats (as heavy as you can) and swimming. The lifting obviously for the leg strength and the swimming to train your muscles to operate very efficiently at a high level with minimal oxygen. Swimming has been a game changer for me living here in Tennessee and hunting in colorado at 12k feet
There is little u can do to adjust ur lungs to thin air but like,others have said go slow if u can arrive acouple of days in advance increase ur elevation by a thousand feet each day and give ur body a chance to adjust to the elevation, and wilderness athlete makes a very good product that helps ur body and lungs adjust.
I went straight up to about 8,500ft last year and just started pushing - bad idea. Crappy sleep and not eating enough over the next three days just made things worse.
Ah, the nostalgic aroma of a yak dung stove brewing up some tea full of herbs best left untranslated.
From the Zen Backpacking Site
Find a stadium somewhere and start running up and down the stairs. Better than a treadmill. After not too many round trips running up and down the stairs, it will tell you how in shape you are!
NRA Life Member OHA Life Member
Hunter for Life
Since I last posted I have now done "Insanity" and incorporated a mix of Insanity/P90X.
I am in great shape right now, just need to maintain......
I think P90X plyo is a good guage. In 2011 I used that with mountain hikes to get in "Sheep Shape' for my hunt. I could do 90% of the plyo video, but was sore all summer long. That's a killer on the legs! It was enough to get me through 14 days of sheep hunting without too much fatigue. I have to mention I was solo, so I just went at my pace, like I normally do. You don't have to be a super athelete to be out hunting, but being in shape will make the experiance more enjoyable.
Chip hack, stay with it! Its early in the year so don't burn yourself out. Thats my biggest problem, if I start getting ready too soon I burn out. I like to start gettining in shape in June, I'm ready by late August. from then on all I need to do to stay in "my" shape is work and hunt.
Got a new personal record tonight! 3.5 miles in 25 minutes which is a 7:08 pace! Pretty stoked! I live at 7500' as well so I hope I can stay in shape over the summer so that I will be ready for September 1.