Uphill Athlete 8 week Mont Blanc Training Plan


Scott Johnston & Steve House

All plans by this Coach


8 Weeks

Typical Week

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

Longest Workout

1:30 hrs

Plan Specs

winter sports

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The Uphill Athlete 8 week Mont Blanc Plan is designed for climbers bound for either the Gouter or the more demanding Cosmique (Les Trois Cols) Route over Mt Blanc du Tacul and Mt Maudit. This plan assumes that you have no strength training background and is ideal for mountaineers and trekkers who have never engaged in an organized training program or who have not done so for a long time.

This training plan is based on scientifically sound training principles and a combined thirty years of professional endurance coaching experience and sixty years of world-wide climbing and mountaineering experience. In order to complete this plan it is important to keep a few concepts in mind: 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 and higher aspirations we recommend using our 16 week Big Mountain Training Plan or our 24 Week Expeditionary Mountaineering Training Plans. Following these longer programs will give the mountaineer a much bigger base of fitness.

Improving you aerobic work capacity will be the single most important thing that you can do in advance of your trip to ensure a successful climb. The best way to improve aerobic fitness for a multi-hour and multi-day activity like this is to engage in a high volume of continuous low to moderate intensity hiking or running.

A heart rate monitor is advised for this training program so that you can target your aerobic intensity to provide the most benefit. You will use a simple formula to derive the upper heart rate limit for the bulk of the workouts.

The whole 8 weeks includes a simple, easy-to-apply strength program to develop what is called strength reserve, the ability to repeatedly execute strength-dependent movements such as taking a step up a steep slope while wearing a heavy backpack.

The program takes you through a progressively increasing work load. To get the benefits of this program you must adhere to the workouts and the planned progression. Be advised not to increase the intensity and hope to gain more benefits or to squeeze a 1 hour workout into 30 minutes. Despite what you may have read in the popular media intensity is not a substitute for duration when it comes to aerobic adaptation.

For the very complete discussion of the concepts put to work in this plan, please refer to our 464-page book, "Training for the New Alpinism" published by Patagonia Books. For specific questions about this training plan, or to send us your success story and be featured on our website www.uphillathlete.com email us at coach@uphillathlete.com . To be sure you are satisfied with your purchase, please leave your email during the checkout process so we can contact you

Thanks and good luck,

Steve House and Scott Johnston


Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Breakdown
Average Weekly Training Hours: 06:58
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours: 06:58
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.

Back to Plan Details

Sample Day 1

Aerobic Base Run/Hike

Run/hike on hilly terrain. Run if you are used to running. Hike if not. You may need to walk the uphills to keep HR within your aerobic limit.

Sample Day 3

Aerobic Base Run/hike

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

Sample Day 4

Hike on Hilly Terrain

Run/Hike on hilly terrain, vertical gain minimum of 1,000 ft.

Sample Day 7

Recovery Run/Jog/Walk

This should be an easy run on flats. HR should be well below (15 beats) AeT even if this means walking

Sample Day 8

Aerobic Base Run/Hike

Run/hike on hilly terrain or on steep treadmill or StairMaster if you don't have mountains or hills around.

Sample Day 25

Hike on Hilly Terrain

Hike on hilly terrain, minimum vertical gain of 2,000ft

Sample Day 27

Recovery Run/Jog/Walk

This should be an easy run on flats. Be below MAF

Uphill Athlete 8 week Mont Blanc Training Plan

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