How to account for recreational exercise

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  • #3375
    kimgivler
    Participant

    Hi. I recently purchased your 16 week Big Mountain training plan, and am excited to follow the program and see results. However, I need some rules of thumb as to how factor in other activities I enjoy, such as a day of playing in the mountains, rock climbing, or yoga. Hopefully soon we’ll have some epic powder days, and I do like to ride the lifts occasionally. I also tend to boulder in the rock gym at least 1x/week. I think I can do all of this and still stick to the plan, but how do I make sure that these activities don’t hinder my progress? Also, if I go out for a long hike or ridge scramble or ski tour on a day that the training plan calls for a shorter but lower-intensity run, how do I account for this and still get results. I’m committed to the plan, but it’s also important to me to take opportunities to play, as that’s really what my desire for better fitness is all about. Thanks for all you do!

  • Keymaster
    Scott Johnston on #3380

    Kimgivler:
    Please read the articles on the site about Capacity Building Training vs Utilization Training and read: Why can’t I Just Climb to Train article. If you want to play and that play exceeds (especially when combined with the training plan) your current capacity then you’ll be taking money out of the Capacity bank account (Utilizing) instead of increasing your bank balance. The whole point of training is to increase your capacity for work in the several realms required by the sport you are training for. Ski touring and mountaineering for instance will utilize most of the same capacities so are very compatible when it comes to capacity building workouts. Athletes looking to maximize their capacity through the application of progressive training plan are looking for long term gains. Those that engage in frequent bouts of Utilization (exceeding their current work capacity) while trying to build that capacity will not succeed in increasing that capacity for work. Capacity building is analogous to the bank account. It take a lot of time and effort to build up a big balance in that account but once it is big it take very little to maintain it and with this huge account balance you can REALLY play and play hard at a level you have never dreamed of before. When that balance is huge like for an Ueli Steck, Steve House or Killian Jornet you can live like a king just off the interest. However, if every time you get a bit of capacity built up in the bank you go on a spending spree (like doing a mega play day that makes you really tired for several days) you will never get a big bank account and always be thwarted in the big dreams and accomplishments. You can have your cake or you can eat your cake but not both. The whole point of our book Training for the New Alpinism was to disabuse folks of the notion that they can do both at the same time. The most supremely talented athletes in the world train this way for a reason. We were trying to show that using these methods climbers can reach unheard of (for climbers) levels of fitness that allow them to do great things.

    Good luck with implementing your plan,
    Scott

    Participant
    Colin Simon on #3386

    If you’re going to have days of questionable length, why not just set up a (assuming weekend warrior) schedule with Saturday as the first day? If Saturday is a day for playing in the mountains and it goes extra long you can rest more than planned on Sun, Mon, Tues…etc.

    If for example you bail 20 minutes into your Saturday playing due to high avalanche hazards, you have all week to make up the intended aerobic time.

    Participant
    kimgivler on #3398

    Thanks Scott! Those articles were helpful, and I’ll continue to study your book, which I sleep next to every night but I guess the learning doesn’t happen by osmosis. 🙂 I certainly didn’t mean to imply that I want to break the rules and still get the benefits of the program. I’m really just looking for some general guidlines as to what is/is not ok outside of the training plan. How do I ensure that the rest of my day doesn’t tap into my bank account? I’m very committed to the plan, so I’m willing to sacrifice short-term fun and performance to get the long-term benefits. But I can’t imagine that your athletes spend the the 22 hours of a Saturday that they are not training sitting on the couch. How do I know what is “breaking the rules” and tapping into Utilization? I certainly realize that training is a combination of science and art, and without 1:1 coaching it’s up to me to provide the art, but I’d love any insight you can offer into what heart-rate zones, recovery parameters, or RPE levels are conducive to the Capacity-building process.

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