Advice on best plan for 12 week, hut-hut plan

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  • #34368

    Hello All,

    I have unfortunately not had much time to prepare as this is a “last minute” trip opportunity but in just over 12 weeks I will embark on a 6 day hut to hut ski trip in the north of Sweden. The terrain and route plan will entail about 20km/day, 300m altitude change per day. I have previously had good success designing my training plans using “Training for the New Alpinism” but as I have fallen out of the routine of training regularly in the past couple years due to some sports injuries I thought I would consider a pre-made training plan offered here at uphill athlete to maximize what time I do have to prepare. My injuries are behind me at this point and have been ready to get back to training for some time, this trip will be a good catalyst to motivate me.

    I would define my current activity level as sporadic workouts combined with a active car-free lifestyle, however my general fitness is well below where I was in years past when I trained regularly -swimming, running and rock climbing mostly. I am 38yo, 6″1′, 175lbs. My car-free lifestyle demands that I walk(usually at fast pace) at minimum 5 miles a day, 5 days/week while pushing 100lbs of kids in a bike stroller across terrain with decent geographic relief. Additionally, I carry 20kg loads of supplies on my back regularly. Strength training sessions and running have been sporadic at best for the past year. So I’m not exactly a couch potato but my cardio base and general strength needs some serious work before this trip, although I think my legs strength is quite good.

    I just completed most of the alpine combine test and had the following results:
    1000′ climb with 20%BW; 35min (included both up and down)
    Situps in 60s: 24
    pullups in 60s: 11
    pushups in 60s: 20

    According to Training for the New alpinism these results put my climb performance as good, but everything else as upper end of poor.

    So all that said I have just over 12 weeks to prepare, but will be looking to continue with general training after the trip. I have been considering the Uphill Athlete 12 Week Grand Traverse (Ski) Training Plan as it fits my timeline and is suggested useful for developing a good base for hut-hut trips, although I am wondering if it may be too intense for my current fitness level? Perhaps I could effectively scale back the time spent in cardio zones in the plan to accommodate my current fitness? I will not have much access to skiing prior to the trip so I will need to utilize running/hillclimbs etc. as much as possible. I will likely be able to get out skiing 1 day a week for 4 weeks prior to the trip at minimum.

    Would greatly appreciate any advice anyone might have to help me get into an appropriate training plan for the next 12 weeks with the intent on keeping it up after the trip.

    Thanks and Cheers!

Posted In: Ski Mountaineering

  • Inactive
    Anonymous on #34381

    With your car-free life style especially pushing a 100lb stroller and carrying 20kg often you are in a great position to use any of our ski touring plans. I think the Grand Traverse plan would be an excellent choice for you. Random unstructured exercise does improve fitness up to a point. You’re probably at that point now where switching to a plan will take you to a higher fitness level.

    I hope this helps,

    Swenglish on #34385

    Hello Scott,
    Thank you for the prompt reply and encouragement. With your recommendation I have gone ahead and purchased the grand traverse plan and look forward to getting started tomorrow! I do not have a heart rate monitor so will need to wait until I make it into the big city to get one so I will likely have to wait until week 2 to do the aerobic threshold test, I do however look forward to getting into the habit of using one. After reading your book it made me realize how much over training I did back in my late 20’s when I was swimming a lot and never listening to my body and giving myself adequate rest, glad to now know how to train smarter!

    After reviewing the plan I have one additional question, As I have not had time to go through a proper transition training period as outlined in Training for the New Alpinism, do you think I should consider scaling back the duration of the training sessions listed in the grand traverse plan based on my estimated annual training volume, which is probably 250 hours(active student/climber). Or should I just get the HR monitor and stick to the planned aerobic times and just go as slow as necessary to keep my heart rate in the correct zone? The thought of substituting a 6 hour ski training session with running is at this point quite daunting so I’m guessing I will likely need to instead substitute those longer sessions with hikes carrying weight.

    Thanks for making all your hard earned information available!

    Jan on #34422

    Hi Swenglish,

    where exactly are you going? I will be in Sarek National Park in march …
    Right now I’m exclusively training for running, but I will add some weighted hill climbs, some roller skiing (Decathlon has rather cheap roller skis) and maybe some longer hikes on hilly terrain with weight soon.
    That being said, to me it seems that your fitness level is quite good and 20 km with a rather light pack for hut trips probably won’t be too much for you. You seem so motivated that I would rather worry about overtraining/injuring myself before the trip. Getting some roller skis and not overdoing it with the running might be a good idea.

    Swenglish on #34504

    Hi Jan,

    Thanks for the reply! I am definitely hoping to avoid overtraining but at the same time the guys I’m going with will be in quite good shape and wanting to make good pace so I want to make sure I can keep up and enjoy myself. We haven’t set our planned route yet but most likely we will be going from Abisko to Kaitumjaurestugorna then to Nikkaluokta. We did a similar route a few years back during mid-february as soon as the huts opened and it was quite excellent but this year as we will be going in early-mid March I am hoping that the huts won’t be too crowded? I may plan an alternate route just in case.
    Last time we went from Abikso to Nikkaluokta in about 4.5 days, I think most people plan 6 or more days according to online bogs and such.

    Sarek sounds nice, would love to check that area out, in fact after seeing your post I had to get out my topo map of that area and spend some time starting at it last night!

    Jan on #34517

    Of course you should train, that’s why we are all here, just don’t overdo it with the running. I would definitely not run 6 hours in one go after 2 months of structured training!

    I’ve been on your route in march 3 years ago. I didn’t find it too crowded, but Abisko-Nikkaluokta is still by far the most popular route up there. That also means good firm snow and tracks from snow mobiles and skiers, so you can be quite fast.
    If you want to avoid the crowds:
    – Go from Abiskojaure to Unna Allakas and from there to Alesjaure. That way also all the uphill training makes sense ūüėČ
    РIf you arrive at Sälka early, think about going northeast to Nallostugan. Off-trail, but easy to navigate and much less crowded. And the mountain Nallo is beautiful
    – Why aren’t you going from Kaitumjaure south to Teusajaure and then to Vakkotavare and catch the bus there? You wouldn’t have to go back to Singi, have less people and a nice route. The route between Teusajaure and Vakkotavare is marked with sticks, even though the map says it’s unmarked in winter.

    Generally south of Singi it gets less crowded, as everyone is going to Nikkaluokta. At Kaitumjaure for example I was the only guest (enjoy the sauna there!)

    As you already know the huts there it may be needless to say, but keep your pack light! No need for more than 5 kg/25 liters of gear and food in my opinion!

    Swenglish on #34761

    Thanks for all the great suggestions! I didn’t realize there is transport from Vakkotavare but that sounds like a great option. Last time I was up there it was painful to turn east at Singi towards Nikkaluokta, all I really wanted to do was keep heading south to Kaitumjuare but the rest of my party was on a tight schedule. The valley south from Singi looks spectactular.

    5kg/25 liters sounds quite light, I don’t depend on the huts as much as I could so last time I think my 40L pack was about 15kg with food and water. I plan to bring my basic bivy gear just in case, sleeping bag, etc. We actually ran into a crazy storm last year coming down Tj√§kta pass, barely made it to the hut before it was a 24-hour complete white-out wind and snow storm. We later met a group of guys at Nikkaluokta who got caught in the storm, only 2 km from a hut and had to bivy in place for the night. After that they were pretty shook up , think they had to get emergency transport as a couple guys had some pretty bad exposure. They were older guys who had been skiing up there for 30+ years. Made me feel glad that we had adequate supplies for a bivy.

    Jan on #34763

    Yes, there’s a bus to G√§llivare every day at about 14:30.

    I will have a 15 kg pack this year, including food and gas for 9 days and complete camping gear …

    I like the food choices at the huts, so I wouldn’t bring anything except maybe some spices and garlic.

    Carrying bivy gear up there even for hut trips is the standard, but I wouldn’t bring any: You are never further away from a hut than 4 hours and the trail is always marked (and you should have a GPS), spending a night with emergency gear seems more dangerous than just pushing to the next hut. Being fast and light seems like the safer option to me.

    Having 10 kilos less in your pack will be the easiest way to keep up with the pace of fitter people.

    Jan on #34764

    And now for something completely different, @Swenglish:

    I already booked and will be in the train from Stockholm-Arlanda heading north during the night from 12th march to 13th march. Heading back from Ritsem (near Vakkotavare) on 23rd march, taking the train from Gällivare to Stockholm that night. Let me know if you will be in one of these trains!

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