I read with interest your recent article on are you fit enough to climb Everest. This was a huge eye opener for me and is consistent with your advice for people to manage their climbing expectations based on your time to train (this likely saves lives). I have sadly realized that my big mountain climbing goals will not happen with a full time job, young family, and the 5-6 hours a week I spend in the gym plus the multi hour hike I do every other weekend.
When I retire in a few years, I will be able to take on a new part-time job which will be up to 15-25 hours a week of fitness training. Until then, I plan to stay as fit as I can, and set myself up for success when the time comes to train seriously. I don’t want to end up spending the next few years “training for the sake of training”.
My question is how do I productively spend the next few years when my training time is so limited? Clearly building the aerobic base as much as possible is the answer, but you will eventually hit the ceiling as you max out your training hours. I am currently training through a TftNA program using the 400 hours working professional average as my starting point, by the peak of the program, I will be doing about 310 minutes a week in the stairs of my office tower with a pack on my back and in the gym.
I have looked at purchasing a number of your training plans, (8 week mountaineering, 12 week EBC Trek, weekend warrior plan) but I’m not sure if any of them are right for me since I have no immediate climbing trips that are coming up, maybe Rainier next summer or Aconcagua in a couple of years (I’d be interested in the CTL numbers required for those climbs). I will be training for a 4 day 160km march in Holland next summer which will involve 16 weeks of marching with weight on mostly level ground (not sure if this will create any training adaptation for the mountains).
If I just want to continue to build a strong base over the months and years leading up to a modest climbing objective (for which I will then purchase the right training plan) what is the best way to build this base week after week until you hit the adaptation ceiling that cannot be broken through without upping your training hours? Do I just keep cycling through a base/taper period through TftNA? When I move to the next cycle, do I drop my volume back to where I started knowing that I will hit my training ceiling if I continue to increase the training volume? Thanks very much.
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