Do you count descending? | Uphill Athlete

Do you count descending?

  • Creator
  • #10258

    Hey Guys,

    I’m working through my annual plan and recently was curious as to how you log your time spent hiking. By this I mean, do you only count the time spent ascending or do you also include the time spent hiking back to the trail head.

    Example: 6 month plan calls for 1:45:00 hike uphill as steeply as possible with minimum elevation gain of 2500′.

    Does this mean you hike uphill for 1:45:00 and then when you are coming back down you don’t have to log the time? I can see both sides of this: obviously hiking uphill is completely different than hiking down hill, but at the same time hiking downhill isn’t sitting on the couch. HELP!?!

    I live in Colorado and have access to some great mountains, but I’m not sure how to go about these longer hikes. Lately I have only been counting the time spent ascending and stop the watch when I get to the top. However, I’m wondering if the time spent descending is causing me to go over my weekly training hour allotment and add extra fatigue?

    Thanks in advance for the help as always!


  • Inactive
    Anonymous on #10275


    We count the descent time in to the training total time. You’re right that they are different but the downs build a special kind of strength that you need in the mountains. Ultimately you need to just be consistent in how you count your training time. And, understand that the times given for the Z1-2 aerobic workouts is a sort of middle of the road guesstimate. If you have more time or more training background feel free to increase the volume. As long as you are recovering well more is probably better.


    s.luedtke on #10300

    Thanks for the reply Scott. I have been tweaking the times as I move through the program. I’ve extended the 6 month program into a 59 week program. I’m just getting into base week 2 at the moment.

    I was just trying to figure out if I have 2 hours allotted to a zone 1/2 hike if I should only go up for half and then come back down or if I should ascend for the full 2 hours and then come down….adding another 30-45 minutes for the descent time. I’ve been using the TFTNA training log and following the recommendations for increased weekly volume and wanted to make sure I wasn’t doing things incorrectly.



    Steve House on #10344

    TO answer your example-question: For a 2 hour workout like this I would break it down as follows:
    15 min slow warm up (zone 1)
    1-1:15 up
    30-45 min down.

    The time ranges would depend on the terrain and speed of descent. Don’t worry about being over-precise here. The important thing is doing the workout and if it ends up being 1:45 or 2:15, it’s not the end of the world and the exact optimal amount is really hard to pinpoint unless you’re working with a coach, then that’s their job and their judgements are based on loads of experience, which provides them with a good feel for what the right volume is. Get within 10% + or – and you’ll be doing super well.

    s.luedtke on #10652


    Thanks so much for your reply. This has helped to clarify my confusion very much!! Thanks for taking the time to help me out.



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