Base Period: Max Length | Uphill Athlete

Base Period: Max Length

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  • #41478

    Hi guys,
    Question for the community!
    I’ve been climbing (Alpinism) for quite a few years now and never trained other than “doing more”. I got a copy of TFTNA the other year and have completely converted.
    Recently welcomed my first child into the world so there’ll be no trips to the Alps/Rockies this year (even if it wasnt for Covid 19). So I see it that I’ve got a massively extended base period to get me aerobic base/general fitness as high as possible.
    My question is…how long should someone stay in a Base period cycle before “de-loading” for a couple of months to allow the body to rest?
    I’m planning (Covid willing) on getting out to Canmore for some technical ice in early 2021 with a proper trip to the Alps probably July 2021.

Posted In: Alpinism

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    Anonymous on #41568

    Base training (below aerobic threshold) is always a “more is better” scenario, so it’s really limited by your life constraints.

    Rather than a “deload” period, after the base period, I would plan for 6-8 weeks of higher intensity training followed by one or two easy recovery weeks before the trip.

    Use TftNA to build the plan. You could expand the 24-week plan in equal proportions so that it fills 36, 40, etc weeks. Or you could do two shorter cycles between now and next spring.

    Anonymous on #41569


    Congrats on the new kiddo – while it can feel like a hindrance sometimes in how free time and objectives get limited, it’s pretty rad to watch them grow and start to enjoy joining you (even if just in a backpack) in the mountains!

    To your question: instead of thinking about a long base period then a month-plus “de-load”, I would change your thinking to a paradigm of more continuous but undulating training progressions. With alpinism, like other mountains sports, you are able to use a wide range of modalities to build fitness and strength – skiing, running, cycling, etc. You can build aerobic volume up using one or several of these methods, gradually incorporate some more “quality” in the form of intensity, ME, etc., and give yourself periodic rest blocks (7-10 days) to consolidate those loads. In effect, your training can look more like a long staircase which will continue to rise over many years. This method is more beneficial then a big base build then long cessation (more than 2 weeks) because you are able to more easily maintain the crucial aerobic components you’ve carefully built, and also create enough variety for both physical (and mental) well-being.

    That said, it’s highly important to monitor the training load and ensure you’re not piling on too much, too fast – play the long game approach with training, acknowledging that you will continue to get stronger year after year, and the returns will be incremental and sustainable.


    dbdmilton on #41777

    Thanks both,
    Really useful replied and helped clarify my thinking a lot. I’ve just managed to get a Nordictrack Incline Trainer (goes up to 40% incline) so perfect for training on the evenings when fatherhood means I cant get out of the house!
    I’m making some fairly bold goals for myself (Cassin Ridge etc) but taking a very long view on this. The methods you guys talk about all seem very sensible.
    At the moment I’m just taking my average weekly volume from the last year and adding in 5% through each monthly cycle to keep building things up.

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