planning my transition period

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  • #8887

    I have some pretty simple questions. I want to make sure I start this program out correctly.
    I have no structured training history beyond college wrestling 30 years ago, so I have to take some guesses. First, for my volume, I think a 2 hour Zone 1 bike ride is probably a good starting point for me. That gives a total weekly volume of 8 hours. The zone 2 ride will be 48 min., and the recovery rides, being the balance of the volume are 36 min. each. I live in Flatlandistan, so hikes are not an option, I would rather avoid running, I know weight-bearing is better, and I can add some treadmill or stair climber time on bad weather days, or if that would be better. Zone 2 and recoveries can both be on the tread, or the stairs since they are short of mind-numbing duration. Logistics are easier as well.
    In the plan, it differentiates between a Zone 1 day, and a “Long Zone 1”. If a normal Zone 1 day is 25% of the total volume, how much is a Long Zone 1 day?
    There is a non-profit climbing club here that operates out of an old cement plant, but there are no auto-belays there. The indoor climbing gym is more expensive but has is probably better for the purpose of the climbing day in the transition plan. I’ll just have to tolerate the high school kids laughing at the 25 lb pack and the heavy boots.
    I also did the Fitness test Saturday, and I scored a poor. The book needs another column in that table labeled “Piss Poor” to account for my performance. I got a long road ahead.
    I suppose if I just bought the 24 week plan, all these questions would be answered. I may do this soon.

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    Anonymous on #8904


    I can speak from experience having been injured a few times that biking is not a good exercise to make up for a large volume of training if you have alpine goals. If I’m injured and have to bike for a few weeks, I’m noticeably worse off when I get back to full training. I also live in a flat area. You should focus on running/hiking/stairs as it’s most related to the sport. If you don’t have the mental fortitude to just crank down and go on long runs, I doubt your chances of success with large alpine goals. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. As someone who used to hate running, I’m betting that you don’t like running because you aren’t good at it, and that is easy to change.

    Otherwise on calculations, you’re pretty high on starting values if your fitness is poor. Your weekly volume should be further down around 4 hours, not 8. Since I don’t know your background, I would structure a low end plan somewhere along the lines of 1h/30m/30m, a base strength day, and a day or two of climbing work… or something like that, depending on your goals. I would do the 1h and one of the 30s at Z2, and one of them at recovery (Z1). Then every week increase your aerobic times. Think long term with your goals; overtraining and over use injuries are a big setback.

    – Adam

    Anonymous on #8956


    Adam is correct in his assessment of biking as a less than ideal primary training mode for alpinism or mountaineering. If you plan to bike you should count on at least doubling the volume of aerobic work compared to running or hiking on hills (treadmill set steeply). One of the reasons biking is so much fun and such a good mode of transportation is that it is so efficient. With only moderate effort you can zoom along at 15 mph for hours on end. Think of how hard it would be to run 15 mph! Chances are good that you could sustain 15mph running less than a couple of minutes. This reflects a HUGE difference in the economy of these two modes of locomotion, yet both are human powered.

    If your fitness is “off the charts piss poor” that’s fine; just allow yourself time. Build a very gradual progression into your plan and start LOW (as Adam recommends). It is way easy to decide in a couple of months that the training load is too low and bump it up a notch than it is to god out of the starting blocks too hard and pull up injured or exhausted in a few weeks. That sort of overshooting can cost you more weeks of recovery, lost training and starting over again.

    Key WordS: Gradualness, Consistency and Modulation. Contrary to Hollywood and Youtube our body’s do not respond well to bludgeoning. However they do respond very well to gradually increasing overloads spread over weeks at a time interspersed with enough recovery.


    Rich on #8962

    Thanks Scott and Adam. I’ll reduce the volume and add some treadmill time.


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