Uphill Athlete 12 week Time Crunched Mountaineering Plan

Average Weekly Training Hours 05:31
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 05:31
Training Load By Week

The Uphill Athlete 12 week Time Crunched Mountaineering Plan is designed for climbers heading for a 2-day up to 2 week mountaineering objective who have very limited time to train. The plan progresses over 12 weeks and tops out at 7:40 hours of training in the final week. It does not include any technical training components so is best for those with either a good technical skill set or for those bound for non-technical objectives. The focus is 100% on climber fitness which in our experience is most amateur climber's biggest limitation on these sorts of climbs. This plan does not include a taper/easy week, so it is important to plan one very light week after completing the program before tackling your main objective.

Caveat:
You can't get something for nothing and this plan sacrifices the aerobic base building period. As such this plan should not be considered as a short cut to fitness. It is a compromise plan for those with strictly limited time to train and/or a short time horizon. While it is a stand alone plan It will give better results if it comes on top of a solid aerobic base. If you plan to stack 2 of these plans back to back it is important to separate them with a 4-6 week strictly aerobic base building period. This Aerobic base period is fully explained and outlined in our book, Training for the New Alpinism.

Guidelines: Rest when you are tired. If you miss a workout do not try to make it up. Move on to the next day. If you miss more than two workouts in any given week, then repeat that week.

For those with more time available each week we strongly recommend using our 16 week Big Mountain Training Plan or our 24 Week Expeditionary Mountaineering Training Plans. Following these longer, higher volume programs will result in a bigger fitness base.

The plan starts with a self-administered Anaerobic Threshold assessment test. From this you will establish the training intensity limit for most of the aerobic training that will dominate your training.

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Steve House and Scott Johnston

Sample Day 1
1:15:00
Aerobic Threshold Test for Zone 1 and 2 determination

If you do not have a good idea of your aerobic threshold heart rate you need to establish that first thing before beginning training as this will set the upper limit for your aerobic base training. Since this is most important training you will be doing it is a good idea to get it dialed. One way to do this (the best) is with an expensive lag test.
https://www.uphillathlete.com/getting-tested-part-2-how-to-interpret-your-test-results/
It can be tricky to find a good lab as detailed here.
https://www.uphillathlete.com/lab-metabolic-test/
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.
https://www.uphillathlete.com/heart-rate-drift/

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 running slowly. Gradually build speed till HR stabilizes at what you FEEL is an easy aerobic effort. Allow 10 min to find the speed allow you HR to stabilize there.
Once that is dialed in do not adjust speed or grade. Run continuously for 60 min at this speed. Record HR and upload to TP

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 3
0:45:00
Aerobic Pace Hike

Hike on treadmill (set@ 10%), a StairMaster, or outdoors on uphill or rolling terrain.
Hold HR to 80-90% of AnT HR for the entire duration

Sample Day 3
0:30:00
Max Box Step Up/Down

Warm up with 1 min running or steep hiking and 1-2 sets of squats with 50% of max weight.
Use this workout for Max strength development.
For step ups use a 30-40cm (12-15") box to step up. Face the box and step up then back down. Repeat for prescribed reps then switch legs.

For Step Downs you may need a smaller box. Step off the top as though going down a set of stairs. Touch your heel to floor and rise up again.

Select a weight that allows 5-6 reps until failure.
Do 4-5 sets of only 4 reps on each leg with this weight in each exercise. Do not go to failure

Increases in weight should come week to week.

See video for reference;
http://www.uphillathlete.com/strength-demo-box-step-up-and-heel-touch/

Sample Day 5
0:45:00
Endurance Hike-Tempo

Do this on a Treadmill, StairMaster, or rolling to steep terrain outdoors.
10min @ 80% of AnT HR
3x8min @ 90% AnT HR with 2min easy walking between
10 min @ 60% AnT HR

Sample Day 7
0:30:00
Max Box Step Up/Down

Warm up with 1 min running or steep hiking and 1-2 sets of squats with 50% of max weight.
Use this workout for Max strength development.
For step ups use a 30-40cm (12-15") box to step up. Face the box and step up then back down. Repeat for prescribed reps then switch legs.

For Step Downs you may need a smaller box. Step off the top as though going down a set of stairs. Touch your heel to floor and rise up again.

Select a weight that allows 5-6 reps until failure.
Do 4-5 sets of only 4 reps on each leg with this weight in each exercise. Do not go to failure

Increases in weight should come week to week.

See video for reference;
http://www.uphillathlete.com/strength-demo-box-step-up-and-heel-touch/

Sample Day 7
1:00:00
Aerobic Pace Hike

Hike on treadmill (set@ 10%), a StairMaster, or outdoors on uphill or rolling terrain.
Hold HR to 80-90% of AnT HR for the entire duration

Sample Day 10
0:30:00
Max Box Step Up/Down

Warm up with 1 min running or steep hiking and 1-2 sets of squats with 50% of max weight.
Use this workout for Max strength development.
For step ups use a 30-40cm (12-15") box to step up. Face the box and step up then back down. Repeat for prescribed reps then switch legs.

For Step Downs you may need a smaller box. Step off the top as though going down a set of stairs. Touch your heel to floor and rise up again.

Select a weight that allows 5-6 reps until failure.
Do 4-5 sets of only 4 reps on each leg with this weight in each exercise. Do not go to failure

Increases in weight should come week to week.

See video for reference;
http://www.uphillathlete.com/strength-demo-box-step-up-and-heel-touch/

Uphill Athlete by Steve House and Scott Johnston
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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.