Training While Guiding

  • Creator
  • #71237

    Hey all!

    This might be a niche question, but I thought I would throw it out and see what experience there is.

    Background: I work as a rock climbing, mountaineering, and backcountry ski instructor. The organization I work for (NOLS) runs these trips in roughly month-long blocks, meaning I will be out living on an expedition, camping and climbing every day for 30 days at a time. I currently work about 25 weeks in the field a year, with only a week or two between.

    The cruel irony of these trips is I get to build a gigantic base of consistent long, steady work, but I often lose my “top end” strength and muscle mass. I think this is due to spending so much time below my personal training threshold. For example, I’ll go into the field consistently climbing in the 5.11 range, climb nothing but 5.6-5.8 for a month, then at the end climb a letter grade or two lower.

    So my question is, how do I continue to have a structured training plan while A) having a physical job without overtraining, B) without having access to a gym or strength training equipment, and finally, C) should I track my day to day in training peaks?

  • Participant
    Cory from Wisconsin on #71250

    Steve was on a podcast a number of years back where he shared a personal story about getting overtrained due to not accounting for the workload of guiding. The whole podcast is interesting, but the relevant segment starts at 30:25. [post with link was blocked, so search for Mtn Meister Podcast #204 from March 2018]. Bottom line is guiding takes a toll on your body and the stress it introduces needs to be accounted for as part of your overall training plan.

    I know Scott and others have often talked about this as well. See Scott’s UA podcast on overtraining. [This link was also blocked – search for the December 6th 2020 podcast called Talking Overtraining].

    There are at least two more overtraining podcasts from UA. One is an interview with Phil Maffetone on Overtraining and the other is Scott discussing recovery by feel.

    I’m not a guide so take my advice with a grain of salt, but your particular situation is likely worth a 1:1 call with one of the UA coaches.

    Matt Schonwald on #71274

    I am a guide as well and have the same question. I did speak with Steve and Scott a few years back trying to categorize guiding. I remember treating it as low intensity but medium to high volume. I struggle with a lot of entry level work which are often at a slow pace so many hours with less than 5 miles and 2K’ of vert over 4-6 hours. This might be upto 3 days a week in early winter so I too would love to hear how to balance that with trying to improve speed and stamina.

    I look forward to this discussion!

    Jsims6752 on #71301

    Thanks for the thoughts you two!

    I have heard Steves story about ski guiding and being seriously over trained. I will definitely give the other ones a listen. In particular I am interested in the judging recovery by feel one from Scott.

    I am in the same boat. I really struggle with the entry level work. Treating it as low intensity medium to high volume makes a lot of sense.

    I think I will set up a 1:1 phone call and see what they say.

    Josh Majorossy on #71306

    Hey great conversation. I am an alpine guide in Canada and am running into the same problem. This summer I have been trying to incorporate some band exercises for the shoulders and some core while at the bivy. Nothing crazy but just trying to stay tuned up.

    Usually I try and do a training block in the spring and fall and just work in the ‘on’ seasons. I hope through this training group to learn how to incorporate more consistency.

    Let’s keep chatting!

    pedro on #71338

    Hi @jsims6752

    A) having a physical job without overtraining

    Use methods to check how your body reacts to training and work load .

    1. rest heart rate – check a your heart rate in the morning every day in a week or 15 day to have an idea of what is your rest heart rate.
    After getting that number , start checking it in the morning or every day still or 3 or 4 day a week.
    If your heart rate is higher 10 beats to 15 beats higher than normal , it can mean that you are in overreaching (getting really tired the work and training volume ) or in overtraining and you should really rest.
    After a hard day , because the body is recovering , the rest heart rate on the next day can also be higher, and that’s normal, but being always can be what I described above .

    2. Hrv ( heart rate variation) – devices like whoop , Oura ring and other , measures the heart rate variation , the value for HRV has a negative correlation to the rest heart rate . A good response from the Body is that , HRV monitor gives you a higher number as possible and rest heart rate a lower number .(ex. Hrv 60 , rHR 45 – GOOD …..hRV 18 , rHR 70 – tired )

    For a good recovery , make sure to tick all the boxes, Sleep, Nutrition ( during effort and while recovering ) , Hydration , respect rest periods in training and out of training, ” resting is also training ”

    B) without having access to a gym or strength training equipment, and finally,

    It is possible to do all the trainings or at least 95% without a gym and strength training equipment just by using your body weight or using some elements that we have at home or we can find outdoors. just needs a bit more of planning on choosing the right exercises and using a material adapted to your purpose .

    C) should I track my day to day in training peaks?

    Tracking your day to day with your device and uploading data to trainingpeaks would be a way,a way to exactly tell how was your work volume and intensity during the day or week was .
    Because using a heart rate band , having the watch running everyday would be and extra concern and sometimes we forget .
    You can register a average week , to have an idea in which is going to be your work load. After having that value, just work on with intensity and volume of your training and how to combine more intense workouts or with more volume , with more easy days on your working week and keep checking the fatigue indicators mention above .

    * make sure to have enough rest day and recovery weeks to recover



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