Longest training day vs. longest day in the mountains

  • Creator
    Topic
  • #73798
    george.peridas
    Participant

    OK, last question! This group has been extremely illuminating and I am really grateful for the help.

    The question has its roots in marathon training, but I don’t know how well it translates into mountaineering or alpine climbing. I’ve never run a marathon, but I gather that a typical plan will culminate with some over-distance runs, aiming to make race day feel easier. Common mortals can run a marathon in <4h though, which shouldn’t be that hard to recover from at a reasonable training pace.

    Long days in the alpine can be 15h, or 24h, or even more. That surely taxes the body so much that you cannot make such days your training bread and butter. For those who have the luxury to culminate their training with a specific phase that involves gradually bigger objectives, you could build towards your end goal. For those of us who have time constraints and lack that luxury, is there a rule of thumb on how long our long (e.g. Sunday) sessions should be compared to the biggest day in the mountains?

    A side question is how the nature of the climb affects training. For objectives with cumulative effort (e.g. multi-week expeditions), the body is called to perform again and again. Whereas for in-a-push climbs, you may have longer days but you’re done sooner. How do we structure training to reflect these different natures?

    Thanks, as always.

  • Participant
    Richard Coburn on #73799

    I’ve run a few marathons. Typically the longest run is 20 miles and maybe just a few of those. So the principles carry over as you don’t run 40 miles in training etc. Nothing replaces consistency missing workouts is robbing yourself on your climb day. You can do a lot more than you would expect by simply training everyday. The uphill 24 week plan plays this well there are no 20 hr days or even 8 hr days the longest workouts are 4 hrs.

    Moderator
    Mark Postle on #73818

    George,
    For objectives with cumulative effort (e.g. multi-week expeditions), the body is called to perform again and again. Whereas for in-a-push climbs, you may have longer days but you’re done sooner. How do we structure training to reflect these different natures?

    – The meat and potatoes of the training is similar, however, I do like to implement a couple of over reaching weekends of training for expedition climber where they are doing 2 or 3 big training days back to back in order to simulate the reality of expedition climbs. This can be a structured training weekend or better yet a smaller multi day climb that has a lot of similar terrain and environment as the bigger A goal climb.

    Long days in the alpine can be 15h, or 24h, or even more. That surely taxes the body so much that you cannot make such days your training bread and butter. For those who have the luxury to culminate their training with a specific phase that involves gradually bigger objectives, you could build towards your end goal. For those of us who have time constraints and lack that luxury, is there a rule of thumb on how long our long (e.g. Sunday) sessions should be compared to the biggest day in the mountains?

    – For these really really big alpine days as you mention here its hard to simulate them in training as the load is too great and the missed training after will largely negate the benefit. (I think this is actually quite akin to training for running hilly 100k-100mile ultras). I rarely prescribe much over a 6-8 hour training day for most of my athletes although smaller goal climbs along the way can be an exception to this. You can break this up over a weekend however and get something close to the load with less abuse/recovery demand as its in chuncks. One additional thing you can do though is simulate the actual pack weight and vertical gain of a big day at a lower altitude. This will get your body ready for some of the specific demands without the drain of the entire time frame of the huge 15-24 hour day.

    Participant
    george.peridas on #73844

    Thank you, Mark. Understood on expedition prep. On single-push prep, just to make sure I understand, let’s take some examples. Let’s say you want to do the Sill->Thunderbolt traverse (Palisades, CA) in a day. That’s roughly 20mi of approach, a 6,500ft difference between summits and trailhead, a bunch of scrambling and some mid 5th class climbing. Or a Shasta-Shastina ski linkup would be a little over 9,000ft of vertical gain and a ~18h day, I guesstimate, for me.

    So the logic of breaking up the load over a weekend applied to the Palisades case would be to find another route that gains 3,500ft on day 1 and 3,000ft on day 2, which also features a long approach and traversing of a similar mileage and technical difficulty as the Palisades, and do it more casually over 2-3 days? And to prepare at lower elevation for the Shasta trip, I would find a sea-level hike (e.g. Mt. Diablo in the San Francisco Bay Area) that gains 4,500ft, and lap it twice?

    Moderator
    Mark Postle on #73890

    Yes you have exactly the right idea. Make sure that a big training weekend like this is far enough ahead of your goal climb to allow adequate recovery of course. Another thing I will have athletes do if logistics allow is to train on some of the terrain of the goal. I.e. Running on the course of a trail ultra. This could also be achieved by doing the approach/descent from the Palisades a few weeks before. This can also allow you to get a good look at conditions for gathering water etc.

    Participant
    george.peridas on #73912

    I like that. So either dissect the climb, or remove the elevation factor, and so take the recovery sting off.

    Many thanks, Mark, it’s been a pleasure, not to mention educational! Godspeed!

    Participant
    George on #75078

    This question actually is how important is our training now to what you do on e.g. 1-month expedition. I plan to peak Lenin (7130 m.) in Pamir and plan to stay there as long as I am ready for the task – no time limitations, no flight back ticket purchased in advance. My last Friday 11-hour Z2 uphill climb (with 2 hours rest and food intake in a shelter in the middle) and the 5-hour Z1 – Z2 descent on the next day resulted in 18 CTL points increase in my Fitness according to TP! Even after a 45 min recovery workout and 2 days of complete rest (due to urgent projects) I am up 14 points in my Fitness. This breaks down the statement somewhere in the UH site that you can not make more than 4-5 points per week increase in your fitness. I am planning something shorter but Z3 for this weekend in the same mountain and see how the metrics go.

    I am giving this personal example just to stress the importance of what you do on an extended expedition. E.g. I go from base camp at 3600 m. to camp 1 at 4200 in Z1-Z2 tempo and my Fitness goes up e.g. 6 points. I go down, rest, and continue – camp 1, camp 2 at 5200 m and my fitness should add up. Of course, aerobic complete aerobic base development as is pointed out by Scott in their excellent 7-hour video course that I will recommend to everyone in this group takes 10 years to develop. But I am not in a competition or professional sport. And going slowly, with enough time to acclimatize and muscles to rest in a monthly scale expedition maybe makes our prior training not so important? I do not understand the concept, again from Steve’s and Scots’s videos, that in the expedition your fitness and performance decrease??? This should be true only if you hurry uphill, to save time (and or money), which is actually the case for most expeditions from my experience. People usually climb this technically easiest peak within 14 days. And I plan to stay there for 5 weeks or so – when I am ready for the task. And if I am not ready – there is a 6150 m. on the way, which is also a worthy goal for me.

    So, how important is what we do now compared to a 1-month expedition in which we give ourselves enough time to acclimatize and recover from going from camp to camp?

Viewing 6 replies - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.