Base Week 9+ for DC Tahoma

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  • #16282

    Hi all-
    Quick background, 35M live in flat-ish PA, untrained until 2018 started TFTNA and a prolonged transition period (10 months) where I figured out how to train while living (FT job, young kids etc). Was able to find balance getting about 4 hrs of ae base/week (hiking or box steps typically; couple trips to Mt Washington or RMNP). I have ADS, so don’t run much. In that 10 month period I did 97hrs and 76k’ vert gain.

    Goal is DC on Tahoma/Rainier in June 2019.

    I’m at a fork for Week 9 and on, starting/integrating ME. My ME will be mostly weighted box steps in double boots though between now and then I’ll have time for a trip or two to NH. The idea is if I can summit Mt Washington (4200′ gain) in back to back days w/ same weight…I should be good to go right? (more or less)

    Fork 1: Start at the goal (8k in 2 days carrying 35lbs, probably really 30 with my personal gear), set it 4 weeks prior to goal climb and work backwards (Page 238 TFTNA “58 y/o Novice doing what I wanna do” table). I have a lot more time than 12 weeks so I could stretch out the progression even more.

    Fork 2: Continue the progression I’ve been doing (mostly following the “!” boxes in the log book, increasing aerobic time 5-10%/week while “integrating” ME workouts, following the planned consolidation/rest weeks). Ae has been hilly hiking or box steps in double boots w/o weight. This will be my first true cycle.

    The difference is a result of the fact that for me to climb X with weight will take up a relatively large % of by allotted base time for the week if I classify ME as “strength” or separate from Zone 1. Should I combine ME and Zone 1 given the…”walk up” nature of my objective (I really don’t need any technical climbing for this)?

    The next question is, if I go with Fork 1 and allow weighted hill climbs/box steps to take over my training, is it ok that it becomes the ONLY thing that I’m doing? From my long transition I’ve become a believer in the low level high volume consistency approach with gains and regressions/recovery. That table on Page 238 doesn’t have really much of any recovery/consolidation built in.

    My plan would be to (between now and May) chart out a long progressive increase in vert/week and weight up to goal. I’d then add in Recovery and consolidation periods (Wk 12, 13/14) to try to get the same training/recovery effect. Since I have about 20 weeks I figure I still have a window to fail/adjust and be on track (1 week I’m at a conference/avy training, 1 week mini vacation). Let me know what you all think, suggestions, thanks!

    Summary: Should I move from a time/week goal to a vert+weight/week goal?


Posted In: Mountaineering

  • Inactive
    Anonymous on #16305


    Thanks for contacting us concerning you preparation for Rainier. The following are some observations and recommendations.

    If I am reading your comments correctly you did 100 hours in 10 months. Or about 10 hours per month or roughly 2.5 hours/week of training on average. And you topped out at a round 4 hours/week of aerobic training. If this is correct I can say with some certainty that that volume of aerobic training will not be enough to move the aerobic needle much if at all unless you are terribly unfit. With the large number of people we have now coached over the past few years, we see that under about 6-8 hours/week of aerobic base training very small changes in aerobic capacity as measured by the AeT occur. Once over 10 hours we see significant improvements in a 6-12 week time frame.

    My comment is not meant to discourage you. But if you’ve got ADS you have your work cut out for you and need a bunch more aerobic base training before worrying about adding ME workouts. Our use of ME is predicated upon the climber having a good aerobic base to support this hard work. Have you read this?

    A high basic aerobic capacity will be what allows you to succeed on your two day climb while carrying a heavy pack. It will allow you to recover well at Muir Camp so that you have enough in the tank for the summit day. This aerobic capacity quality is so important that we prioritize it over all the other training. Your event, Rainier, is going to involve more work packed into 2 days than you now are doing spread out over 2 weeks. This idea is called the “density” of training: How much work done in how much time. What base training of this sort is intended to do is improve your work capacity (make you more fatigue resistant) so that you can handle more density in your training so that the training density begins to simulate the density of work required in your event.

    If you are limited to a maximum total of 4 hours/week of training that density is so far from your goal event’s requirements that I fear you will not be well prepared for Rainier. The deck will be stacked against you in that you are starting this climb at 5000ft and going to 10,000ft the first while coming from sea level.

    I suggest that you try to get one multi-hour aerobic training session each week if at all possible. Try to build the weekly aerobic volume to 8 hours while doing the max strength workouts. Then add the ME weighted climbs 2x/week beginning in mid April.

    Your back to back climbs on MT Washington will be a good test to tell you if the training you have been doing has been adequate.

    Good luck,

    mike on #16311


    I live in flat northern Ohio, near Cleveland. As of today, I plan to be in the ADK in mid February (and possibly first of March) to ice climb/hike/snowshoe and Mt Washington area (5ish days) at the end of March/first of April to climb/hike/ski. If you are interested, let me know.


    Anonymous on #16312


    Thanks for the reply, let me clarify/be more descriptive in what I’ve been doing so far (I’m feeling super bummed and off track right now). My biggest struggle during that 10 month transition was figuring out/planning consistency. I was getting in about 4 hours base/week but there were long stretches (sometimes weeks) that I did nearly zero work. Almost all of that was lack of focus and dedication on my part.

    My average week looked/looks like:
    Box step 60 minutes x2 (no weight; avging about 1500′ gain)
    Local hike (only about 300′ gain) 1.5 hours
    Max strength session (I don’t count the time)

    If a week was very work-busy I focused on box steps (feels like more work) than hiking.

    My job entails shift work, typically several days/nights grouped together then many days off. It is unlikely I can get in 4-5 days of 2+ hours days per week; however it is very likely I can get in 2-3 days of 4+ hour days per week. From what you wrote this may be a good thing; I should aim to (greatly increase) volume but also work density (ie more work in the days training); since my days off are typically bunched together I can plan for much more volume as well as time to recover from it.

    I’m glad I asked. Thanks.


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