Best type of training plan for through hike

  • Creator
  • #59131

    I’m planning on doing the Wind River High Route next summer at the end of August. The route is around 110 miles w/ about 60% being off trail. There’s about 30k’ of gain and loss at elevations between 10k’ to 13k’. I live at sea level and will drive for 2 days to get to the start of the route.

    Planning for up to 8 days with fully packed weight of ~30lb to start.
    While the route has 2nd and 3rd class terrain nothing is highly technical. However there are many miles and feet of elevation gain/loss spent on talus, scree, and large boulders. Lots of trip reports complain of just being worn out by the endless boulder fields and loose talus. So I would want to train for that as well.

    Which type of training plan would be the best fit for this adventure?

  • Participant
    juskojj on #59132

    Following with interest bc this sounds right up my alley! And think I’ll put this on my bucket list!

    I’m no expert, but you’re going to need a very good cardio Base and muscle endurance. I would think if you get the cardio Base and then so the ME workouts you’d be golden. But curious what the experts say.

    Jane Mackay on #59168

    Also no expert, but agreed on the huge aerobic base and ME, but I would be inclined to put the ME on a good base of general strength. Since you have lots of time, you could do two or three rounds of general strength for a few weeks, followed by a few weeks of ME. You might want to limit the ME to 1x per week and have the other strength day — at least 72 hours later — be general strength. Or even do ME every 10 days. A little goes a long way if you do it full-on.

    For a crossover strength-ME workout that’s mountain specific, if you’re not familiar with it, I HIGHLY recommend the Chamonix Mountain Fit series, available through UA for $99 subscription/year. It’s a steal. There are four levels. I’ve been doing it for months and I’m still getting value from level 2, bc you can increase the level within the level by adding/increasing weight and improving technique. It’s heavy on single-leg and core work. After 3-4 months of doing it 1x – 2x a week (and skipping some weeks) my leg and core strength and balance all increased remarkably. The improvement in my balance is still astounding me. That would be valuable on the talus/scree/boulders, narrow ridges, etc.

    I’m also interested in what the experts say.

    juskojj on #59169

    I’d agree with Jane as well!
    Jane thanks for the reference to the fit series, sounds very good!

    Once my back gets un&*&(^ then I plan on getting back into general strength for a few weeks then possibly hit ME.

    I also know they don’t recommend ME until your within your 10% unless the event is close to when your doing it.

    Jane Mackay on #59170

    As for plan, a longer plan would give you the most benefit. Perhaps Mike Foote’s Big Vert (under mountain running) or even the 24-week Expeditionary plan. The decision tree on the Training Plan Guide page might help.

    Jane Mackay on #59171

    Juskojj, I hope you get your back un!%*%$*ed soon! And yes, Cham Fit is amazing. I could rave about it for hours.

    juskojj on #59172

    Thanks! I start PT tomorrow so hopefully that does it! I’ve got Pete’s advice so I think I’ll be good in time…… at least I’m mostly able to keep up my cardio!

    Jane Mackay on #59176

    Juskojj — good luck!

    Shashi on #59217

    Confirmed with Scott. A 24-week mountaineering plan would be a good choice. If you are into running, Mike Foote Big Vert plan would be another option.

    a_r_korry on #59265

    Thanks Shashi for the confirmation.

    Two other questions.

    My hike is 9.5 months from now. I normally do other activities including lift/backcountry skiing, other 3-5 day hikes, crag and alpine climbing, etc. during these months. How should I account for these other activities while I’m also doing the mountaineering training program? Do they just replace the weekend or week’s training activity? Or do I pause the training program for a week and resume after a 3-5 day trip.

    Second – since my time till the trip is longer than the 24 weeks of the program do I try to extend it longer, wait till the 24 weeks align with the trip, repeat sections?


    Mariner_9 on #59300

    “Do they just replace the weekend or week’s training activity?”

    You can use them as training (which might not be optimal) or you can focus solely on training. I did hiking or ski touring trips while training and had easier weeks before/after the trips. This was because the trips were intense (e.g. 3 days of long hikes or tours) and there was travel involved, which is also a stressor.

    “since my time till the trip is longer than the 24 weeks of the program…”

    I would extend the program. IIRC the original TFNA approach was 8w transition, 8w max strength, 8w muscular endurance then 4w sport specific, then taper (~2w?) so 30w total.

    Chet on #59311

    Be sure your boots/socks are WAY dialed in way ahead of time (and have good blister “stuff” with you) !! the Winds are fantastic….and anytime before September MOSQUITOES are also outrageous…

    Shashi on #59347

    As Mariner said, you can include backcountry skiing/alpine climbing in your training. Especially with the coming ski season, many people will incorporate backcountry skiing into their aerobic training for the week. The key is to stay within your target training volume for the week and have a gradual progression from one week to the next. If the training volume is erratic and/pr you have not fully recovered for the next day/week’s training, then training might not be optimal.

    Regarding extending your training plan, review this forum topic –

    Extended 24 Week training plan?

    Hope this is helpful.

    Shashi on #59348

    I intended to share this forum topic as well in my reply, but for some reason it didn’t show up correctly.

    The forum topic below has good information about impact of big days on training and how to assess what works best for you –

    Big days of ski touring – still base building or ME?

    Wish you the best!

    a_r_korry on #59366


    Thanks for the links!
    They have some great information and answer my questions.

    Anonymous on #59835

    Thank you, it helps a lot

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