What to do after your season

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  • #3981

    In about 6 weeks I will attempt the climb that I’ve been training for since July, about 24-28 weeks in total, give or take some sick time. This is the third time I’ve applied the principles in TFtNA to a season of training.

    After the last two seasons I’ve always been a bit at a loss as to when and how to start training again. This time I’d like to retain more of the fitness I’ve developed-but I’m not sure that I can. I seem to remember TFtNA describing the need to wait at least a few weeks, if not months, to recover from the climbs I attempt this season, and then considering a period of 2-8 weeks transition, and considering an initial volume of 50% of my average from the previous training cycle.

    Do you have any suggestions that are more specific than the guidelines mentioned above, or is this a situation that is so individualistic that there isn’t much more to say without actually trying some techniques out and seeing how I respond? I should mention that I’ve now used the 8 week transition 3 times, and wondered if i can somehow shorten it, or increase the intensity.


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    Mariner_9 on #3983

    “wondered if i can somehow shorten it, or increase the intensity”

    I had the same question. Does this depend on how demanding your objective is?

    Colin Simon on #3985

    I find coming back from a big trip is the best time to just do climbs that feel fun. When I spent a winter saying “no” to rock climbing in order to go do monotonous aerobic training for Denali, coming back and simply rock climbing in the sun was such an enjoyable way to regain a different type of strength.

    If you come back and already want more aerobic work, there’s always a bigger approach somewhere…

    Anonymous on #3988

    You’ve mostly answered your own question with the realization that recovery from and extended climbing trip or expedition is highly individual and subject to so many factors that it is impossible to give any but the most general recommendations. For what they are worth here are the factors I consider the most important:

    1) How much did this season or climb take out of you from the physical, mental and emotional standpoint? A huge effort where you went well above and beyond can leave you drained for months. This happened to me after K2 in 1995 after 3 summit attempts and several deaths. This happened to Steve after the Rupal Face climb with Vince. The difference was that I came home shattered and Steve came home a hero. Being shattered made it fairly easy to realize what a wreck I was. Steve on the other hand was riding a high of having achieved not only a personal lifetime goal but having set a high water mark in alpine climbing. The success fed the rat for him to the extent that he could not see how much rest and recouping he needed.

    2) As Colin Smith mentions above, the break should allow you to stay active but have fun and give you a chance to do things you have denied yourself during the previous months of arduous training and climbing. Maybe this is sport climbing in a sunny place. Maybe it mountain biking in Moab, Maybe it is playing golf. Ideally it will be activity rather than complete sloth and also be recreational rather than feeling like work, which training can feel like.

    3) In the end you need to feel that hunger and desire welling up. That antsy feeling. Then you know you are ready to start training again.

    How to determine the length of the Transition Period is again, entirely individual. If this lay off is a couple of weeks of sport climbing and you have a few years of consistent training under your belt then maybe 2-4 weeks to transition back into training is all you need. Come back from an epic of being pinned down in storm at 8000m for a week and having lost 15lbs of muscle mass and you may need even more that an 8 week transition period just to regain your health.

    If there were a formula for any of this I promise I’d lay it out.

    nathanols on #3991

    Thanks very much Scott, and everyone else. It is great to hear some different perspectives, even if those are confirming some ideas I’m already wrestling with.

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