Big efforts in training blocks

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  • #70989
    Richard Coburn

    Hello excited to learn from this group. I’m training for a guided trip Ecuador Chimborazo then to Aconcagua this Jan. I’m about 10 weeks into the mountaineering 24 week plan.
    I have thrown in a couple big effort days in this training block. Grand Canyon 22 miles 5300vert 8hr day, 16 mile 7000 vert Middle Pallisade summit 13hrs, and a double summit of humpreys arizonas highest peaks 6400 vert 8 hrs.

    These bigger efforts typically do cause me to shorten or skip workouts. Sometimes a mini taper a few days before the event. Do these events help or hinder progress. I like the idea of replicating a summit day. Would these big efforts be better thrown out stay with plan? Maybe don’t mini taper and carry some fatigue into the effort? I do like doing these challenges but want to focus on maximizing performance on Aconcagua. I’m wondering if the efforts cause me to miss workouts if that is bad?

  • Participant
    Jeremy on #71013

    I like your question because I am wondering the same thing. I tend to want to stick to the training plans no matter what. But as you said maybe these big effort days may help (or they may hinder) your overall progress.

    I think the point of the books was to guide us in developing our own training plans specific to each of us, our goal, timeframe etc.

    So im curious what the coaches and others have to say about your question as well as what guidelines we should consider when making changes to our training plans.


    Robert Moore on #71016

    Hi and agreed…. I did some big efforts last few weeks…well bigger that what’s coming in Plan from what I have read in the forum. Asking the same thing help or hinder?

    TLoftus on #71040

    From the 24 week plan on adding in aerobic volume:

    “If you want to add more training volume, do so in Zones 1 or 2 (at aerobic threshold or below).
    In general and within reason: So long as aerobic training isn’t interfering with recovery, health, work, personal life, etc, then the more the better. However, that’s NOT the case with intensities above aerobic threshold (AeT).

    This plan represents the MINIMUM suggested volume of training needed to perform well on a big mountain, multi day climb. If you have the time and most importantly the energy you can add volume to existing workouts or add in a second easy aerobic base training session on some days.
    Be very careful to monitor recovery as per our books or…..

    So the Rabbit hole seems to be spending too much time above AeT. I do my long uphill hikes and weighted carries in the WHite Mountains. The last uphill workout called for 3 hrs and a minimum of 2500 vertical. I did 3000 vertical at/below my AeT in 2:45, and went back down in an easy zone 1, which is about as fast as I want to go on slippery rocky trails. Total just under 5 hrs This was a 10% BW hike. I find weight makes it easier to regulate my speed and keep HR in check. It was hard at first to get used to slowing down, but after these 3 months it feels right and I love the results. Tomorrow is steep uphill for 1:30 with 20 min easy, 35 min zone three, 35 min easy, 5 min more zone three than last week and these are just about the first zone three WOs in 16 weeks. Just like the book said.

    Richard Coburn on #71087

    So as long as Your efforts aren’t to intense and they don’t cause you too miss workouts. You probably are building fitness. If your in the wrong zone or you overdo it with to much hrtss. It’s assumed not to be good? I’d still like a coach to weigh in if there is value in doing huge (correct intensity) tss days suffer days that attempt to replicate a summit day. Or if the best way to build fitness is too stick to the plan with minor increases that don’t require tapers or missed workouts due to recovery.

    Robert Moore on #71131

    Hi Richard…. I was looking at my dashboard on some recent long events where I did 5/6 hours hiking. This would be easy zone 1 and slower than I usually go (family hike)…. What I noticed is that the spike of a big event corresponds to rises in fatigue. Pretty sure this is intended to guide our training especially if anything gets added to base plan volume. Does suggest too many spikes and fatigue stays above fitness level line which I guess is not so good. Compared to how I felt and the graph…. A big day followed by a day off… seemed to work and given Monday is full rest I think it could be fine. As was pointed out additional volume in right zones is ok… recovery is key.

    Still learning the dashboard and figuring stuff out though…… and I can’t say no to enthusiastic kids who want to hike 10 miles…

    Moiez K on #71227

    Loving this thread. I have problems with recovery some days. From time to time, my lower body gets quite sore within a few minutes of starting a hilly hike (as has been the case this past week). I’m not sure if it is under-training or over-training.

    Anonymous on #71316

    This is something we deal with a lot in endurance training. How to be ready for an event (in this case a summit day) that is big enough in magnitude that you can’t replicate is regularly in training without recovery issues. We also see this in ultra running distances. My take on this is that the best approach is a mix. Occasional overreaching day(s) in training that replicate the reality of a summit day but not so often so as to interfere with the frequency of training. Aerobic capacity training responds best to frequent (daily) stimuli so its less effective to do a huge day and then take a bunch of Zero days following than to craft out a well planned week. I think for folks that are new to training daily consistency should be the primary focus. For more advanced athletes throwing in the occasional really big day help break through plateaus and gets your body ready for the reality of the event. I have used over reaching days or back to back big training days about once every 4 weeks with some success with mountaineers. Make sure to give yourself adequate recovery, a restday or two following then another day to two of low intensity. Also by keeping the intensity if the long day fairly low you can prevent from totally wrecking yourself and needing extended time off of training. I will either program a big cycle right after a rest week when your the best able to bounce back from it or at the end when you have a really easy week coming anyway. Almost never in the middle of the cycle.

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