Summer is for Alpine Rock

Summer Is for Alpine Rock

Spring has come to the valleys, and with spring the allure of summer. And summer has long meant one of…


Debriefing a Climb (or Ski)

#AlpinePrinciples Debriefing a complicated climbing day can be one of the best ways to learn and strengthen your climbing partnerships.…

Mountain Running
Tracing My Lines by Luke Nelson

Tracing My Own Lines

About 35 hours into our Nolan’s 14 attempt in September 2017, I was intent on quitting. I couldn’t imagine what…

Ski Mountaineering

Latest FAQ's:

Q: A.) I got a fitness tracker earlier in the year and have been surprised how much walking I do in addition to my training – it works out to an extra 8-9 hours/week on average. Should I just treat this as active recovery? It’s obviously very easy, low HR exercise.
B.) Do you have suggestions for how the uphill athlete who’s confined to the flatlands can train? I’m 4 hours drive from anything beyond a 100m hill. I have suffered from ITBS in the past and have problems with this when doing high volumes of weighted box steps…but have no problems doing long days in the hills even when carrying a day pack.
C.) I would love to hear advice on dealing with ITBS. I’m surprised I got it (from running) as I have strong legs. Neither stretching nor strength training have helped.

A: A.) It is completely up to you whether, or how, to count these low HR hours. They certainly have a beneficial recovery effect. But since this is “your” training log, just be consistent with how you count the time spent. The lower the intensity the more volume you need to have much training effect. Keep in mind, short duration (under 30 min at a time), low intensity (less than 50% max HR) exercise will have minimal training effect for someone as fit as you must be.

B.) Try the following: stairmaster, treadmill set to 15% (some go even steeper), hiking the stairs in tall buildings. We’ve used all of these many times with folks in similar situations, who have gone on to climb some big mountains in good style.

C.) For your IT band, try rolling it with a hard ball. We’ve seen this many times and it can often be fixed with LOTS of rolling on a foam roller or ball. Stretching rarely works and strength training often makes it worse. We absolutely swear by the Rogue Fitness Mobility ball. It cured Scott’s IT band, and then Scott gave it away to several friends, who got instant relief, as well. Many of our clients have been cured by using this simple (but painful!) treatment.

Category: Training Practise
Q: I’ve read different training books, my focus being mountain running. What I miss from most material is specific instruction on how to get better. Take Zone 1 heart rate training, for example. There’s a big difference between doing work in the upper part of Zone 1 compared to the lower part. At least that’s what I’ve observed based on my experience. But I haven’t seen that covered except in Joe Friels “Total Heart Rate Training” and even there it’s only touched upon. What I’m looking for is specific programming, not “2 hours in zone 1” or “30 min total in Z3”, but rather “5-6 cruise intervals of 6min/1min first week followed by 3 cruise intervals of 10min/2min next week” etc. For me that is common sense now, but it took a while for it to really sink in as a beginner…

A: The reason you are struggling to find specificity in the literature is because specific training instructions are specific only to the individual they are meant for, and are not easily generalized to a broad population other than as very general guidelines. That’s why you see the more general recommendations such as two hours in Zone One. Anyone who tells you that there is a universally applicable, formulaic, approach to training is fooling you. Scott has coached at all levels right up to Olympic athletes and one thing you can be absolutely sure of is the individual nature of the training response. You can give ten athletes the exact same workout and you will see ten different responses based on their training history, genetics and recovery state.

There is an enormous individual component to proper planning. When we wrote our book we had space limitations, and we directed the material to climbers (most of whom have no experience with endurance training or any training for that matter). Hence we tried to explain the ‘WHY’ behind general training concepts, and aimed to steer clear of blanket prescriptions that might be appropriate for someone of your abilities, but would destroy a less well-trained person. On the website we will have the opportunity to delve more deeply into the ‘HOW’ of designing specific training plans, using the same methods we use with the athletes we coach.

Category: Mountain Running