How much volume to start with?

  • Creator
  • #46089

    I’m planning my base period training based on the guides for a technical alpine objective in TFTNA. I’m starting with about 6.5hrs of volume for week 1 and working up to 10 hours in week 7. This puts me at 13-14 hours of training volume in week 15. As someone with a long history of exercise but virtually no history of training, does this seem like an appropriate volume? 14 hours is a lot more than I’ve ever done.

    The question of “how much volume is too much” is obviously very subjective, but it kind of comes down to two things. For those with coaching experience, are there guidelines you use to determine how much volume is too much for a client with little experience (aside from tweaking each week)? For those who work 9-5 in addition to training, how much time do you find you have to train? Unfortunately I live someplace flat, so getting into the mountains and knocking off multiple objectives in a day (e.g. Zone 1 approach + alpine climbing) isn’t possible for me.

  • Participant
    Shashi on #46096

    Welcome to the forum!

    I work 9-5 and currently in the last phase of my 24-week mountaineering training. Prior to this, I didn’t have much experience with a structured training program. 2019 training exercise volume was probably less than 200 hours. I started with avg. weekly volume of 3.5-4 hours and slowly built up volume over the last few months. Currently, I am able to manage around 10 hours of training/week and it jumps to 15+ hours if I do a long day trip over the weekend.

    I do have some flexibility in my work schedule, so I can wrap up early on a weekday for a 1.5-hour steep hill hike locally. I live in Vancouver, BC so access to hilly terrain is easier.

    Do you have an estimate of your average weekly volume from last year? That should help you get started with the new training plan.

    Shashi on #46097

    A similar discussion on another forum topic that you might find helpful –

    Transition hours- aerobic plus strength?

    Anonymous on #46158

    Sadly there is no formula for deciding what is an appropriate training volume/load. We give what we hope to be some very cautious guidelines in the our book TfTNA. There is just too much individual variation.

    If 14 hours sounds intimidating then I suggest either starting a lower volume or ramp up slower. It is far easier and better to find out you undershot and increase the volume later than it is to overshoot and find yourself exhausted to stressed trying to meet the demands of the plan.

    In other words: Err on the conservative side. I’ve always held that it is much better to arrive at your goal event slightly undertrained (you can always dig deeper into your reserves) than it is to be even slightly over trained.

    I wish there a better way to give you guidance. This is why we have spent so many words in our books and on this site explaining ways for you to monitor an control your training and recovery.


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