So I’m now officially booked and the planning is getting real for a typical Denali West Butt trip this May. I signed up for Steve’s 24wk training plan and I’m now 8 weeks away from T-minus 1 week where the last week is dedicated to taper/maintenance/logistic late minute planning. I wanted to start a discussion with other people who may be thinking about or have done any of big mountain training plans (8, 12, 16, 24, etc) and discuss what has been working for you and what hasn’t been so far. For background, I work a typical 40hr M-F work week and I commit myself to training and dieting the rest of the time (a necessary commitment for this program to have the most efficacy). I also have a fitness background as a ski coach, FIS ski racer, and competitive cross-country runner (not through the collegiate level). Size-wise, I’m about 5’5″ and 135lbs. I’ve done about a dozen CO 14ers, Kilimanjaro, and some skimo (13ers/14ers).
I plan to have a longer write up after I come back from my trip, but in the meantime I wanted to also provide feedback from the training so far.
Data Percentages from 11/21-04/04/2017:
Planned breakdowns by Duration:
Actual/Completed Breakdowns by Duration:
*Before going into a short synoptic analysis, I broke the percentages down by duration rather than distance as the distance metric is highly variable, depending on any indidivudals’ previous base period training.
Overview and Observations:
With all workouts being intentional, the first 16 weeks, being base building, all felt like an ordinary fitness regimen. I had not experienced any problems whatsoever. Two weeks ago, the conversion to specificity/muscular endurance began (hill sprints and weekly long run w/ vertical). For the first time in the activity notes, Steve noted that HR can be disregard and explosive pushes need to be as hard as can be. I’m working with a 30m over about 300 horizontal meters (~10% grade), which isn’t even quite the intensity that he recommends and I have found myself really suffering here. Categorically, I’ve been on the verge of yacking in the middle and at the end of each set of hill sprints. All the data so far shows the obvious weakness that I am lacking Strength workouts. The Other category is quite large, but that is mostly from working stairs, downhill skiing, and stairmaster time.
Having an averagely fit background before starting, the base-period has not only been essential in building and maintaining fitness, but also does exactly what it’s purpose is: to provide sufficient base for the harder workouts. I had said to my expedition leader, “All the workouts are doable and never feel hard”, this was before the recent transition to the hard workouts. I have noticed minor improvements in my body’s recovery time and efficiency at getting to and staying at MaF HR/AeT, which have been great, and I hope these small changes will benefit me and the team when the time comes. Looking forward, I’m hoping the hard workouts will be just the right amount of incrementally harder to improve, but not too hard that I can’t keep up. Additionally, I can imagine the long-term benefits of not just 24wks of specific training, but 30+ months of MaF HR/AeT training, can other trainers/athletes comment on the variance in the ratios of base:endurance workouts? Hope ya’ll enjoy some of my data and thoughts.