I do a hike once a week; and lately since out of work, I go twice a week hiking. I find If I load my pack with extra weight, I push myself to just below the limit for periods of 5 to 10 minutes, then go relax normal pace, then push a bit again.
Week to week I notice improvement; and when I first started... lost a lot of weight.
you're from abbotsford .... the abby grind is a great example. I had to take a 15 min break at the mid point first time i did it. Probably 1 hr total. Second time i went the whole way in 45 mins. Third time was in the evening at 40 mins and fourth time was back to around 45 min.
On the other hand my girlfriend's time has steadily been decreasing each time as you would expect.
So i'm trying to figure out what i need to change.