How do you count training hours

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  • #3335
    LindsayTroy
    Participant

    This seems like a really stupid question but bear with me. I’ve been following the training for the new alpinism books and I’m on week 6 of the base period (Max Strength). I don’t really know how to count climbing and strength (though strength is a bit easier) into the training plan.

    For climbing, I’ll assume I’m supposed to count time on the wall, but if I go climb somewhere like the gunks for the day, I can spend 4-5 hours on the wall actually climbing which is basically my entire training volume for the whole week. So I haven’t been counting climbing time towards my training, but should I be?

    And slightly easier, for strength, doing the strength workout, there is a lot of down time where I’m resting should I run a timer and start and stop it in between each of the sets? So far I’ve just been saying a strength workout takes an half an hour. is this okay to do? And is this affecting my training negatively?

    The example would be this week:
    Total training time: 7hrs
    long zone 1: 2.1hrs
    zone 1 volume: 2.5hrs
    zone 2/3: 1.4hrs
    strength: 1hr

    Is this right or am I doing the breakdown wrong?

  • Keymaster
    Scott Johnston on #3336

    Lindsey;
    I’m going to address your post point by point so have pasted it here
    .

    This seems like a really stupid question but bear with me. I’ve been following the training for the new alpinism books and I’m on week 6 of the base period (Max Strength). I don’t really know how to count climbing and strength (though strength is a bit easier) into the training plan.

    This is an essential question to get answered since it will form the whole basis for logging and accounting for training load. The reason for counting hours is to have some way to account for the accumulation of the stress LOAD from training. There are two principle ingredients in the load: Duration (time) and Intensity. These two factors are of course inter-related and it is really the combo of them that creates the load. Simply tracking volume of low to medium intensity aerobic work is a good way and so hours make a convenient measure since you are comparing apples to apples if you run for an hour or do a 2hour approach to a climb. However when it comes to accounting for the load of strength training, either general like lifting weights or specific like cragging) time is not a great measure. You can intuitively see that climbing 10 pitches of 5.6 is going to have a different training stimulus than climbing 2 pitches of 11c. The stimuli are different and the load is going to be different.

    For climbing, I’ll assume I’m supposed to count time on the wall, but if I go climb somewhere like the gunks for the day, I can spend 4-5 hours on the wall actually climbing which is basically my entire training volume for the whole week. So I haven’t been counting climbing time towards my training, but should I be?

    You can record climbing time in hours but separate it by quality. Lots of easy pitches are going to build an aerobic base in the climbing specific muscle groups where working a project is going to be building either strength, power of anaerobic (Local Muscular Endurance) endurance and the varying intensity should be accounted for. Just as in full body aerobic conditioning, like running, where the need for a big aerobic base is essential, having that some base in the climbing muscles will allow you do more and harder specific climbing. These workouts should be periodized as well. The Rock Climbers Training Manual by the Anderson brothers is great reference for this stuff. Be consistent in how you record your training. That is the key point to consider. If you always count the climbing time the same (relative to the intensity) then it does not matter how many hours you record. You are comparing apples to apples

    And slightly easier, for strength, doing the strength workout, there is a lot of down time where I’m resting should I run a timer and start and stop it in between each of the sets? So far I’ve just been saying a strength workout takes an half an hour. is this okay to do? And is this affecting my training negatively? This is a fine way to do it. Just be consistent. There are many ways of tracking strength training. The most popular is in tons lifted in a session. A bit crude but works amazingly well as an estimation of work done.

    The thing to keep in mind is that you are trying to track and monitor TRAINING LOAD and thereby plan for future TRAINING LOAD. Hours are one grossly simplified method for doing this as time spent training is a proxy for the load. A crude model, admittedly, but a starting point. There are much more sophisticated models out there: The best I have ever seen is the Training Peaks Training Stress Score. But it requires a high degree of athlete involvement and moderately expensive monitoring devices. It is for the very serious or coached athlete. That is why we recommended hours for the self coached. Just be CONSISTENT in the way your count your time spent training.

    The example would be this week:
    Total training time: 7hrs
    long zone 1: 2.1hrs
    zone 1 volume: 2.5hrs
    zone 2/3: 1.4hrs
    strength: 1hr

    Is this right or am I doing the breakdown wrong?
    This is exactly they way I would do it but I would include your climb time/grades.
    Scott

    Participant
    LindsayTroy on #3337

    Thank you!! This answer was incredibly helpful. I keep track of absolutely everything (weight lifted, grades climbed, whether or not it was sport/trad/following, etc) I just wasn’t sure how to include it when planning for the week.

    Participant
    swankiecass on #3339

    This was so helpful to see. I just finished the book and I am on week 1 of my transition period and was having the same question for dividing up my hours and counting them accordingly with strength training and climbing.

    Participant
    Frantik on #3347

    This is indeed helpful but on the FAQ on this site it states that time should only be accounted for the aerobic portion of the training (http://www.uphillathlete.com/faq/)

    Q: When the workload changes from week to week, are you taking into account the total for the week (e.g. climbing, strength, aerobic), or is it solely the workload in the cardio zones that changes week to week?

    A: The volume progression is limited to the aerobic portion of the overall training load. Strength training is not well tracked with volume, whereas basic aerobic work is quite well monitored with volume alone. This is especially true when the strength workouts increase in weight rather then number of sets.

    So last year I did as Lindsay and Scott suggest taking into account everything but this year after reading the above I started measuring only the aerobic so climbing /strength are extra hours in there.. I am a bit confused now :p

    Keymaster
    Scott Johnston on #3354

    Frantik:

    You raise a good question but one for which there is no good answer. The FAQ you quote is a general recommendation. Training load is a combination of volume and intensity. There are a number of cleaver ways that folks have come up with to measure load this way. As I mentioned the best I know of is Training Peaks’ TSS. But NONE of these systems that I have seen have a good way of equating strength relating strength training load (“strength” training encompasses a big range of methods and means) to endurance training load. So as I said to Lindsay when you do this you comparing apples to oranges. It is like trying to measure how many gallons of gas you put in your car with a tape measure. And by the same token like trying to measure the the length of a board you want to cut with a measuring cup. Can’t be done. So we recommend that you measure endurance training, especially the low intensity kind that is going to make up 80+% of your overall endurance volume, in hours. Not because it’s perfect but because it is a decent proxy for the load from this kind of training and will allow you to monitor the progression pretty well. When it comes to strength training, using hours breaks down and does not necessarily provide that same proxy value. The “tons” method will be a better proxy as would some measure like Number of Pitches (NoP) times the Grade (G). It might be not be a linear relationship though so NoP x G = Load may not be completely accurate. Maybe there other variables and maybe one of them should be squared. But in the end, as I told Lindsay. This is your training and as long as you are consistent in how you track it you’ll have something you can look at and see stuff. LIKE; HMMM I’m really tired these days. Is it because I ramped up he volume of Z1 runs too fast this week or is it because I doubled the number of pitches in the gym? This is far, far from a perfect science. Empirically obtained info from trial and error is the best way to learn and what makes good coaches so helpful. They (should) have been there and done that many times over. But don’t look for exactness or you will be frustrated.
    Hope this helps,
    Scott

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