Q: I work in the financial markets and struggle with enough time to train, let alone climb. I think I could have 200 hours of training per year, at the most. I did train harder than any of my non-climbing friends when preparing for my last three expeditions (and I used your book a lot), but I always feel I am just barely breaking even with the objectives I set to accomplish. As a result, I have to take on painkillers and medicine to keep going at the end of my trips. So my 1 million dollar question is this: how can I maximize the time I have, and choose climbing objectives accordingly?
A: This is a great question, but, sadly, there is no good answer to it. If you can only train 200 hours per year, there is no special workout or magic way to pack more into those 200 hours. If you have been at 200 hours per year, for more than one to two years, then you have gotten about as fit as you can for that much time.
We are in the process of developing a training plan for people who are pressed for time, which we hope will be available before the end of 2016. It will be a compromise on our general recommendations for training, and we will be very clear about that when we produce it. But the fact is, there are many many people out there in the same situation as you, and we’d like to provide something helpful for all the “weekend warriors” out there. Keep an eye open for that. Hopefully it may help you.
In the meantime, it sounds like you are taking on too big of an objective if your body is breaking down near the end of the climb. Painkillers and NSAIDs should be a last resort to prevent further injury – not a crutch to help you achieve your goals. If you can’t complete an expedition without them, you probably need to bight off smaller goals.
Q: What I struggle with the most is finding fitness plans that I can do during the week to plan for playing on the weekend. There don’t seem to be many plans or articles for this. It seems like it’s either “how to train like a pro climber/mountaineer”, or “do this core workout to look HAWT at the gym”. There are no workout ideas for the weekend warrior who can hit the gym during the week to lift and run but cannot go out until the weekend.
A: Fitting training around work and other commitments is always a challenge. We sell several training plan options and are constantly cranking out new ones. Maybe one of these could fit the bill for you.
They are, of course, generic, and have to be tweaked to fit your personal circumstances. We also offer a personal coaching service where we work one on one with you to help you achieve your goals. Info on that service is available here. Training, in order to be effective needs to be: continuous, gradually progressive, and modulating in load. So, your mid week sessions and weekend “play” needs to be coordinated into a coherent structure. This is what most weekend warriors struggle with.