Load Bearing and Walking Pace

Self-pacing during load-bearing results in a lower energy cost than a forced-pace. However, not all missions allow self-pacing. When the pace is forced, a self-selected decrease in walking pace will be observed as the load-bearing weight increases. The self-selected walking pace or exercise intensity during load-bearing depends on many factors. Some of the factors affecting the self-selected pace include:

♦ Aerobic fitness level (maximal aerobic capacity)

♦ Total distance walked

You will normally self-pace at 30% - 35% of your maximal aerobic capacity when carrying a moderate load of 50 pounds.

With lighter loads, self-pacing normally results in an exercise intensity of around 45% of your maximal aerobic capacity. However, an exercise intensity of 60% or greater can be achieved when the load is light and the distance short. Remember: walking pace and load weight carried during an infiltration or exfiltration contribute to the rate of exhaustion. Figure 10-1 presents estimates of when exhaustion might occur at various walking speeds and loads. High rates of energy expenditure (900 to 1000 calories per hour) can be sustained for only 6 to 10 minutes. To be able to move quickly at this intensity, load weight must be light.

Figure 10-1. Workload and Energy Expenditure During Load-Bearing

Figure 10-1. Workload and Energy Expenditure During Load-Bearing

Carrying a load at a walking pace that requires an energy expenditure in excess of 300 kcal per hour can compromise the energy reserves you will need at the desired destination. Figure 10-2 shows the speeds that you can expect to sustain with given loads at the designated paces: note these all result in an energy expenditure of 300 kcal per hour.

Figure 10-2. Effects of Walking Pace by Pack Weight and Terrain


Load (lbs)

Figure 10-2. Effects of Walking Pace by Pack Weight and Terrain o o


Sand • Heavy Brush I Easy Terrain

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