Uphill Athlete 16 Week Beginner/Intermediate SkiMo Racing Training Plan

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Uphill Athlete 16 Week Beginner/Intermediate SkiMo Racing Training Plan


Scott Johnston & Steve House

All plans by this Coach


16 Weeks

Typical Week

3 Run, 1 Strength, 2 Walk, 1 Day Off

Longest Workout

2:45 hrs

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This is the minimal plan that we recommend for those who are at the early stages of Skimo racing and have a goal of competing in short-duration (sub 4 hour) SkiMo races. This 16 week pre season plan progresses gradually but will require considerable effort to complete. It is primarily a dry land based program so that you can hit the snow in good shape and for those who do not live close to snow. The endurance workouts can be done on snow if you have access.. It is not for a novice as it starts off with over 6 hours of required training per week and peaks at 10 hours per week. The program starts with a volume based plan of building basic endurance and general strength. After 8 weeks there is an increase in the aerobic intensity. Finally there will be a taper period leading into the first race.

To make the best use of this plan: Familiarize yourself with the training concepts and principles described in the book "Training for the New Alpinism". Pay particular attention to the notions of Continuity, Gradualness and Modulation. Tips: Rest when you are tired. If you miss a workout do not try to make it up. Just move on. If you miss more than 2 in a week then repeat that week. Do not increase the intensity and hope to gain more benefits or to squeeze a 1 hour workout into 30 minutes. There is no short cut when it comes to aerobic adaptation.

The plan starts with an Aerobic Threshold assessment test. From this you will establish the training intensity limit for most of the aerobic base training that will dominate in the overall plan but especially in the first 8 weeks. The first 8 weeks also includes a basic strength program to prepare you for the harder work to follow.

This plan has proven successful for beginner to intermediate SkiMo racers who used it properly to compete at regional levels. It is not designed for those already well trained in Skimo or mountain running. If you are winning local races or competitive in National or International level events this plan will be too basic for you.

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Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Breakdown
Average Weekly Training Hours: 07:43
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours: 07:43
Average Weekly Breakdown

Uphill Athlete by Steve House and Scott Johnston

Uphill Athlete LLC.

What originally inspired us to write Training for the New Alpinism, and what inspires us to continue to share the things we’ve discovered through Uphillatlete.com, is the information void when it comes to specialized training for endurance mountain sports. We have successfully demonstrated a more systematic approach, using proven principles, to help you improve both your chances of achieving your goals, and your long-term fitness and safety in whatever mountain sport you are practicing.

Sample Day 1

Aerobic Threshold Test for Zone 1 and 2 determination

If you are careful and diligent you can do your own test using Training Peaks Premium edition. 
Thats what we are going to explain now. Read this article to understand this test better.

This test can be done on either on a treadmill, stair machine or a flat to very gentle loop course outdoors.  It can not be done on an uphill/downhill out and back course.

1) TREADMILL: Set treadmill to 10% and begin hiking slowly. If training for flatter runs set treadmill to 3% and run. Gradually build speed over the first 10-15 min until HR stabilizes at what you FEEL is an easy aerobic effort. If you have a good idea of what your Aerobic Threshold HR is then target that HR for the beginning of the test. NOW YOU ARE RADY TO BEGIN THE TEST.

NOTE: If hiking you may need to use a steeper grade (10%+) in order to get you HR up sufficiently.

Once that speed and grade is dialed in do not adjust speed or grade again during the test. Run or hike continuously for 60 min at this speed. Record HR and upload to TP

TREADMILL CALCULATION: Since GPS does not work indoors the pace part of the Pa:Hr will not be accurate so you can not use the TP Pa:Hr metric on a treadmill. That's why is so important that you hold the pace and grade constant once you start this test on treadmill. It is very likely that you will see an upward trend in the HR over the course of the hour. To calculate HR drift you need to select the first half of the test in the graph of HR/Pace?elevation. Note the avg HR for each half. Compare those to see if avg HR rose more than 5%

2) OUTDOORS: Run, preferably on a flat (or very gently rolling) course, at what feels like an easy aerobic pace. Once your HR stabilizes start the recording feature on your GPS enabled HR monitor watch. Record for one hour while you do your best to keep the HR as close to that initial HR number. Upload the data to TP.

If the Pa:Hr is greater than 5% your initial HR/pace was above your Aerobic Threshold and you should do the test again at a lower HR. This may take several attempts to find a Pa:Hr decoupling of less that 5%.

Once you determine your AeT HR set that as the top of your Zone 2 in your Training Peaks Zones. Subtract 10% from this and set that as the top of your Zone 1.

Sample Day 2

Core and General Strength

1x core routine and 1x general strength from Training for the New Alpinism book.

Sample Day 3


Run/hike on rolling terrain

Sample Day 4

Recovery Run/Jog/Walk

This should be a very easy run/hike on flats. HR should be well below AeT. (AeT minus 10-15bpm)

Sample Day 5

Core and General Strength

1x core routine and 1x general strength from Training for the New Alpinism book.

Sample Day 6

Aerobic Threshold Run/Hike

Aerobic Threshold Run/hike. Run/jog/walk at a pace you can maintain while breathing through your nose (assuming your nose is clear)

Sample Day 7

Hike on Hilly Terrain

Run/Hike on hilly terrain, vertical gain minimum of 1,000ft. This can be an approach/descent from a moderate alpine objective. Keep the intensity low on both the approach and climb in this early period.

If you train outside the duration of the workout should be total time out. That includes the time both up and down. For example: A workout with a 2hr duration would be the total time from start to finish. This also includes if you are hiking up stairs in a building and back down. If you take the elevator down seen description below.

If you are using an alternative methods like a treadmill, stair master or hiking stairs(taking elevator down) the duration of the workout would be for the time hiking uphill. If you have a 2hr duration workout that would mean hiking on a treadmill for 2hrs.

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