-by Steve House, Uphill Athlete Master Coach and co-founder
One of the offerings we have here at Uphill Athlete that has been very successful (and even more popular than we expected) is our Custom 8-Week Training Plan. Perhaps this should come as no surprise, since the kinds of athletes we tend to train – climbers, skiers, and runners – often end up being unique individuals with busy schedules, and have training needs that don’t fit neatly into a box.
We’ve fielded many emails requesting more information about this particular plan, so I thought I would do my best to provide a little more information on it, to help you decide if it is a good choice for you.
The Custom 8 Week Training Plan is a good fit for people with almost any objective. We’ve had people use it for climbs of Everest, Denali and Aconcagua; for more technical climbing objectives such as climbing Fitzroy; for running goals; we’ve even had people use it who were dealing with orthopedic injuries and wanted something that took their rehab schedule into consideration. So we’ve had people of all types sign up for this plan, and most of them come back to sign up for a follow-up period as well. The first 8-week Custom Training Plan costs $260, and each subsequent 8-week Custom Training Plan is $180.
It all starts with a click. After you go through the online form and fill in your responses to the questions, we have a baseline understanding of your current fitness, training goals, and athletic and physiological profile. You’ll receive a document that outlines several fitness tests for you to conduct on your own to establish some basic benchmarks such as your aerobic threshold.
Next, we schedule a phone call in which we build on that baseline to fill in the gaps, and get a more complete understanding of what you are trying to achieve, and what might currently be holding you back. These calls typically last from thirty minutes to an hour, depending on the individual, and we will stay on the line until we are clear on the next steps. After the call, and before your plan is built, we’ll send you a request for payment.
After Scott, Sam, or I have studied your case, we will construct a training program custom-fit to your own specific needs, and upload it on the Training Peaks website on a calendar for you. This is a really awesome resource, and it’s completely free to use. There are a number of advantages to using Training Peaks, such as workout-tracking, and tracking technical data such as HR, altitude, pace, and other kinds of monitoring if you have a watch or device that does that. Besides allowing you to track progress we can then use this information to develop an even better understanding of how you are responding to the training stimulus, and where we can make further improvements to help you reach your goals.
Once you have your plan, it’s up to you to follow through. This plan is not a good option for people who are having motivational issues, or who need detailed, specific coaching or feedback about their workouts – for that sort of thing, you’d be better off with an Elite or Master Coach. However, this is a solid option for self-starters who are looking for some personalized direction with their training, and something a little more tailored to their individual needs than what may be found elsewhere in our training plan offerings.
At the end of the 8 weeks, we have a follow-up phone call to see how the training has gone, and, for many, to set up a follow-up period. We’re happy to offer the follow up at the pro-rated price of $160, because we are coming into it having already done a lot of the work of getting to know you, your schedule, and your body. And, of course, if you’ve been recording your workout data on Training Peaks, we have a great resource to help construct your next 8-week program.
That’s the plan in a nutshell. But just in case you still have questions, here are some FAQ’s below.
- I would like to sign up for this, but I have ____ commitment that makes my schedule hard to work with. Can we work around it?
- Yes, the whole point of this custom training plan is customizability, and we understand your busy schedule! If you can make any time for it, we can make it work.
- How much time do I need to start seeing benefits?
- There is no single answer to this; it’s really on an individual basis. But, in general, if you can devote as little as four hours per week to your training, typically you can see gains. What often happens is that people start small, but when they begin to see improvement they get excited, and find ways to make more time for the training. Keep in mind that we can’t coach you to a Boston Marathon win on 4 hours per week. This is simply a minimum to see meaningful progress.
- Is this a good option if I have an injury that’s preventing me from doing my normal training?
- It can be, if you are far enough along in rehab to start training. We get quite a few people signing up for this training plan for this very reason. Think of an injury as just another obstacle to work around, such as a dietary constraint or time crunch. An injury is no exception to that rule.
- Once the 8 weeks are over, can I keep working on the same plan?
- Of course. You can do this training plan every 8 weeks for the rest of your life – the plan is yours to keep forever. That said, if the plan is successful, your body will change and adjust to the new work load. To continue to see results, you will need to make adjustments to how you train – this is why the follow-up plan is so successful.
- Do I have to sign up for TrainingPeaks?
- Yes, you have to create a free account. As stated before, TrainingPeaks is an incredibly useful tool both for us, and for you, to track your progress and curate your workouts.
- Do I need a fancy GPS/Heart Rate watch to do this?
- No, but the more specific training data you can provide us, the better we can cater your specific training plan. Most of our athletes begin to use a heart-rate-monitor / GPS watch after the first month, the data is that useful.
- What will I need to perform the fitness test?
- At minimum, a pair of shoes and a decent gym. It is very helpful, but not absolutely necessary, to have a heart rate monitor as long as you can take your heart rate at your wrist or neck the old-fashioned way.
The fitness tests we send you are pretty simple to implement, and you won’t need much more than a pair of hiking or running shoes and a visit to a local gym. That said, if you want to get really specific with your training, there are more professional tests available. You can read all about getting tested here.
Where do I sign up? Here!
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