Transition period: balancing volume restraints with normal outdoor activities

  • Creator
  • #54178

    Hey everyone,

    I’m very new to the Uphill Athlete style of training — I picked up TftNA a couple months ago, and I’m currently in the third week of my transition period. I’m attempting the standard DC route on Rainier this August, so I’m doing 8 weeks of transition + 8 weeks of base training as the book recommends for people training for a climbing objective that’s sooner than would be ideal.

    What I’m struggling with is how to balance the prescribed transition period training program while also doing some of my usual weekend hikes/scrambles/etc. The recommendation in the book is to do one long Zone 1 workout that makes up 25% of the weekly volume — I wasn’t sure what my volume was last year, so I went with the 250hr estimate from the book. After some slightly generous rounding up, that gives me ~3hrs/week of outdoor time. 25% of that is 40 minutes, which isn’t enough to do much in the way of hiking, especially since I have to go suuuper slow to stay in Zone 1 (guess that means it’s a good thing I found this book!).

    Anyone have suggestions for how to still do some of your usual outdoor activities during the transition period while not deviating hugely from the program? Maybe the answer is just to suck it up for another 5 weeks, and if so, that’s fine — just curious to hear other people’s experiences with this.


  • Participant
    jakedev on #54180

    Hi Jesse

    I had the same issue as you when I started. I did not “suck it up” and focus on training but instead did all my activities at a slower pace to stay in Z1-2. That was a mistake as I ended up doing too much volume out of the gate and was forced to dial it back sooner than I wanted to. Without any previous training to go on it’s hard to get a baseline of how many hours per week is right for you. Sounds like you get out alot outdoors so 3 hours MAY be too low, however it is better to undertrain than overtrain. Try it for a week and see how you feel. If you still feel great then add 30 minutes each week (or 10%). Or maybe start at 4 hours. The recurring theme on this forum is “figure out what works for you”.

    The Scotts have said all those percentages of Z1 and Z2 are guidelines. There aren’t numbers to live and die by every week.

    Hope my input helps.


    Anonymous on #54199

    What Jake said.

    If you’re accustomed to higher volume, then that’s fine. But don’t hope yourself into it or you’ll need to backtrack later.

    As Jake said:

    That was a mistake as I ended up doing too much volume out of the gate and was forced to dial it back sooner than I wanted to.

    jesse on #54203

    That’s all very helpful, thank you both! Sounds like I should dial it back a notch. As I said, I don’t really have a sense of what my previous volume was because I’ve never tracked it before…better to err on the side of caution. I appreciate the advice.

    LindsayTroy on #54208

    The strategy that I take is: I can do whatever I like as long as the HR is in the recovery zone. So if I wanted to go for a hike, thats fine, but it has to be slow enough to be not even zone 1. This will start out at grandma pace, but now I can do a pretty reasonable conversation hiking pace and stay in recovery as long as it’s not steep. So using your example, I would do the 40 min in Z1 or Z2 and then after that I had to slow it down to be below Z1 but I could keep going as long as it felt good.

    jesse on #54259

    Ah, that’s a good idea! Grandma pace definitely is a good description of what my recovery zone speed is like, but I’ll take what I can get 🙂 thank you!

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