Cross Training

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  • #58983
    Edgar Carby


    What is the consensus on cross-training in the base period? When the weekly hours get above 8, I’d love to bike/row/ski-erg some of those additional hours so as to avoid feeling beat up from running.

    Obviously, there are no rowing machines on the mountain so it’s not useful from a specificity perspective, but it’s certainly easier on the body and an AeT HR can be maintained as in running.

    – Is cross-training acceptable in the base period for big mountain training?

    – Is there some sort of golden ratio for running vs non-running aerobic workouts, like 2 hours running for every 1 hour cross-training?

  • Moderator
    MarkPostle on #58987

    Edgar- I’m actually kind of amazed we got to over 100 comments on the forum before someone asked about cross-training. There are a LOT of variables here but I’ll take the first crack at it. Steve and Nate may weigh in as well. Certainly non-sport specific training has its place in certain training phases and amounts. Personally, I like to see the last 4 months of training in the run up to a goal climb be as sport specific as reasonable. If your goal climb is 6 months out and youre doing 8 hours/week of hiking/running and 2 hours of bike/rowing I think that’s perfectly acceptable. If your goal is 6 weeks out and half of your training is swimming then you’re doing yourself a real disservice. For sure running can be abusive at high volumes for a lot of folks and you need to monitor that, depending on what you have for terrain I like to see folks shift to things that use a hiking gait for a good chunk of their training to combat that. (My recollection from the forum is you don’t live in Chamonix ;)) You need to have a way to get your HR into the right zipcode of course which is hard when you don’t live near big hills. Incline treadmill, steep normal treadmill, stairmill and really tall buildings with stairs can provide aerobic training opportunities that have fairly limited impact but fairly high sport specificity. I have also had athletes who are trying to limit the abuse do split sessions on a long day, where they’ll cycle for the first half of the time period then finish with a run right after so their getting the cardio benefit of the long day and at least finishing the training with something foot bourne and quasi-sport specific. Depending on your specific goals, how serious you are about climbing and how you made out on last years tax returns you may want to consider investing in an incline trainer if you have mindset where your able to train indoors.

    Edgar Carby on #58991

    I think I hear you telling me to hike more. This is exactly why I joined the MTG – I want to get this advice straight from the experts.

    I actually have three hills near my house that I hiked last weekend and managed 3300 feet of vert. Of course, it took me almost 4 hours and 20 miles and I ran between the hills (avg HR 138, 247 TSS). Not literally flat but something like it.

    I’m ~7 months out from Denali so, based on your comment above, I will probably mix in some bike/row/ski-erg as a supplement to the MTG plan for the next 3 months. Then get in specific mountain climbing mode February-May.

    I really appreciate you guys being so responsive. Like I said, this is what I was hoping to get with MTG.

    MarkPostle on #58993

    That’s actually a really solid amount of vert for a long session. You can do a lot with a few short steep hills and some creativity. Your plan to move towards sport specificity seems like a solid one and if youre currently doing 20 milers with 3K’ of vert then your in a good place fitness wise. If you can channel that aerobic base into some vertical with a weighted pack at times you’ll be where you need to be for Denali no problem by spring. You might also start looking for an old tire to drag around the neighborhood later in the training cycle to simulate the sled. 🙂

    Edgar Carby on #58998

    I’m really glad to hear that Mark. I’ve been fretting about the vert situation.

    I have a sled that will hold 45# plates that I plan to drag around. I warned the neighbors not to be alarmed if they hear something that sounds like a Balrog taking out the trash at 4:30am.

    mattmay3s on #59017

    @Mark – Was going to ask about tire drags for Denali once I’d got into the plan a bit more but seeing as its been raised now 🙂 – when would you start to introduce these? Heading out in May ’22

    MarkPostle on #59048

    It depends just a bit on when folks are Denali bound Matt but in general I like to phase it in starting about 12 -16 weeks out so roughly February 1. Most folks will do 1-2 sessions a week with the “sled”. Nate and I have discussed adding a sled drag option weekly workout to the next 12-week session of the training group for those that are Denali bound specifically.

    mattmay3s on #59103

    @Mark – thanks, maybe a Denali Trainig Group after this one, seem a number of us are heading that way this summer:-)

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