Where to take my training?

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  • #22015

    This upcoming summer I’m taking it quite relaxed bringing the mrs out to Leadville to take her up some easy 14ers, but I’m not worried about that, I’m thinking long term, what should I do?

    Summer 2020 I’m most likely headed to Bolivia/Peru for some large glaciated peaks above 6000m with that hopefully being a stepping stone to make it into the Tien Shan/Karakoram for some larger objectives in 2021 and beyond, so quite a ways away.

    I’m more thinking about my current fitness, how to improve and what I could do.

    34 year old male, 5’7, 185#.
    Around 20 years of climbing on and off, but those 20 years have given me a great base of consistent training volume. Had a few years into heavy lifting and became certified weightlifting coach (Snatch & CJ).

    While my lifetime PR Squat and deadlifts are above 500 each, that was a good 10 years ago but can still muster up 350 quite easy without my effort so I feel like my strength reserves shouldn’t be a focus.

    I run a lot currently getting around 125-150km a week (mostly treadmill though) and mostly zone 1/2. I do upper body strength twice a week and bike approximately another 100-125/ week.

    I’ve logged every workout for 3+ years and have been sitting around 1000 hours of yearly training during this time.

    To prepare for the high altitude challenges that I’d like to head off to within the next 2 years is there something more I should focus on or continue with what I’ve been doing?

    I’ve thought about dropping some weight but I enjoy being able to laugh through grunt work in the hills that makes others miserable. A lot of it is leftover muscle from lifting (my thighs/legs are enormous). But going into a caloric deficit, I’d have to pull back on my volume… and I generally just love training, even without a long term goal I’d run this much just because I enjoy it more than most anything.

    I’m by no means an elite athlete or as quick as I’d like to be in the hills and dropping weight I could see making me quicker in some aspects but would I give up too much in others?

  • Inactive
    Anonymous on #22038

    How many of those 1,000 hours are continuous endurance training versus strength training? If the bulk of it is continuous endurance training, then you’re well set up to perform aerobically.

    If aerobic pursuits are your priority, then dropping weight will be the lowest hanging fruit. Somatotype limitations aside, if you could drop 30 pounds, that would put you at the high side of an endurance height/weight ratio; drop 40 pounds to mid-range; drop 50 pounds to low-range and probably ideal. Of course, you can only go as low as you can stay healthy.

    The gratification of relative performance grunt work will quickly be reversed in a fast and light context, so again, if aerobic mountain pursuits are your priority, then it sounds like you could avoid all strength training altogether and atrophy some muscle for the most obvious gains.

    Scholesm on #22041

    Thanks for the reply,

    Just under 10% of that 1000 hours is strength training over the past 3 years of training. Prior to that it was quite a bit closer to 35%. Most of the rest would be in the Endurance portion. I.e. once every other month I take a full Saturday and run a nice 75km Run. Distance wise my body holds up really well, but eventually I’d like to get my time under 7 hours.

    I’ve always been built thick which is why strength training came so easy to me.

    Don’t think my body could ever drop 50 pounds from my current frame, but I’ve often thought that being around 160ish may not be terrible, but again. I’ve only ever been to 6000m in altitude, ultimately I’d like to perform well at altitude and I’ve heard that some heavier boys perform quite well historically so still hesitant deciding to cut so much. I’m thick, but not fat (if that makes sense). There’s a bit of extra but not 30 pounds of it (think Artem Okulov, I have a very similar build) so yea I’d have to let the muscles atrophy. I want to perform at altitude so if losing some muscle won’t stop me, then I may just do that.

    Anonymous on #22042

    Ah, okay, that makes sense. For some reason, I had assumed that you were focused on running, so the weight comparisons were probably too extreme. Climbers definitely run heavier.

    For comparison: I’m 5’8″, 150#, and skimo racing. I’m on the heavy side for that sport; 140# would probably be ideal, but I probably can’t go that low and stay healthy. When I was alpine climbing a lot, I was around 155-160#.

    Scholesm on #22043

    I just happen to be one of these sad saps who could run every day for the rest of my life and not get bored. I love it – and obviously do it a lot. I’d like to get better yes and improve my times but not at the expense of my mountain goals if that seems reasonable.

    Anonymous on #22045

    Not sad at all. ~900 hours a year is a professional level of training volume. It’s impressive. I suspect that the strength in your legs helps tolerate the pounding from running.

    Anonymous on #22070

    Its tough for thicker athletes to drop muscle mass. But I suspect you are waaaaay stronger that you need to be for your goals of mountaineering. I’d stay away from the strength training except for core. If you do do an strength work I’d do it specifically with hill sprints not lifting in a gym.

    900hrs of aerobic work in a year is impressive and no doubt is what is allowing you to perform as well as you do. Keep that volume up, drop the weight lifting and begin to add some Z3-4 intensity .


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