Fitness (CTL) needed for a specific peak

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  • #65361

    In your experience with many climbers, have you found CTL scores needed for success on specific peaks? As an example, 80 for Rainier, 100 for Aconcagua, 110 for Denali? Or are there too many variables to be specific about the needed CTL?

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    MarkPostle on #65376

    Fritz, I do have rough CTL numbers that make me feel a bit more warm and fuzzy when folks head off to certain peaks. For things like Whitney/Grand Teton/Rainier/Hood a CTL of 70-80 seems prudent and for more demanding peaks like Acon/Denali/Everest 90-120. I realize the peaks in those groups are not all exactly the same in difficulty but it gives you an idea. Ultimately I feel like CTL is a proxy for volume so it’s not an exact science of course but rather a good starting place for a discussion. For example, I feel better about someone who has a CTL of 85 slowly grown over a 24 month period with lots of sport-specific work in the final months than someone with a CTL of 115 that only encompasses 4 months of training with lots of cycling and rowing for instance. That said where I think CTL becomes very useful is for comparison with your own past years/training cycles as you progress. If it peaked at 80 last year and you climbed your goal peak and felt solid then hitting 90 this year for a slightly more difficult peak makes a lot of sense. For determining “readiness I like to look at 1) Are you recovering from the training load? (if not everything else is moot) 2) Have you been feeling strong on intermediate goals/training climbs? 3) Lastly I look at metrics like CTL.

    keith brown on #65462

    Mark, I recall from another UA article about the use of CTL and the need to maintain at or above a threshold for some months (as a guide). Using the CTL metric for Acon/Denali, let’s say 90 for example, as a guide what does the weekly TSS look like for a two-week taper? EXAMPLE: Taper-week-1 40% below previous week’s volume (or some TSS number); Taper-week-2 be 80% less (or some weekly TSS average)?

    I recall a few sessions ago, some folks being a bit anxious or concerned about reduced volume/intensity durng taper leading up the Denali, feeling like they are loosing fitness. Scott commented the anxiety being “good” because it means you are tapering. My thought is using the weekly reduction in TSS (as a guide) during the taper might help put our egos in check.


    MarkPostle on #65492

    Keith, We’ll touch on this a bit in the zoom tomorrow. The way I think about it is a bit different for each goal and how close to the edge (of overtraining) I feel like that particular athlete is at the end of training. As a general starting place for the discussion for a longish duration climb like an Aconcagua I would do a 2 week taper, taking about 30% of the volume out of first week (and no ME) then about 50%+ of the volume out of the second week. There is some decent evidence that going very easy for the 48-72 hours before travelling helps the immune system be a strong as possible. (I think staying healthy is more important than getting the taper perfect) I tell folks to relax and trust the training that you’ve done, realistically nothing you do that last 10-14 days is going to help you summit. Don’t try and cram in extra at the end. Heres a link to a commonly cited study on different taper methods with elite athletes.
    It is clear from the research that the exact science of how to taper is not clear and even when done right the benefit is only a couple of percent.

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