Wonderland Three Day Tour Training Plan


Uphill Athlete by Steve House and Scott Johnston

All plans by this Coach


16 Weeks

Typical Week

1 Day Off, 1 Other, 6 Run, 1 Strength

Longest Workout

22 miles

Plan Specs

running ultra intermediate advanced

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This 16-week ultra running training plan is designed for individuals looking at completing a three-day running tour of the Wonderland Trail around Mt. Rainier who have some running background and are capable of handling back to back weeks of 30 miles of easy aerobic running to start with and building to nearly 55 mile weeks that include one high intensity session.

The plan follows the proven model of three building weeks followed by a recovery week to allow your body to absorb the training that preceded it It takes you through an 8 week base period to solidify both general functional strength and the aerobic base you will need to support the hard work in the later weeks. It then moves into a 4-week running specific strength period to boost your running power and muscular endurance on uphills.

The meat of the program is a 6 week block of concentrated loading of the two principle components of any ultra distance trail run: Uphills and long distance building up to back to back to back longer runs.

The final 2 weeks are a taper and rest to prepare you for three days of trail running through varied, beautiful terrain, with roughly 30 miles per day.

Like any well crafted training program this one will only achieve the desired results if it is administered properly. This means following the intensity, volume and recovery recommendations. It also means listening to your body and resting when you need it. The stress of everyday life will impact your ability to handle the training load and must be factored in the evaluation of your readiness to train. We highly recommend that anyone serious enough about their training to use a plan like this, get tested in lab to establish their personal heart rate training zones.

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Steve House and Scott Johnston


Training Load By Week
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours: 09:12

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 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 READY 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 Basic Strength Assessment

This is designed to show you where your strength could be more easily improved. We will be concentrating most on functional core exercises such as those in the Killer Core routine and some basic but climbing specific movements.

Warm up with 10' vigorous aerobic work until you break a sweat.

Core Strength Assessment.
Use the Killer core routine whose exercises are demoed here:

Go through these exercises and note which ones are easy, medium and hard or impossible. This will tell you where to concentrate your efforts. Add resistance to the easy ones or drop if they are very easy.

General Strength assessment.
This can show up strength deficit in the major muscle groups that all climbers rely on. Use only exercises below.

Box step: Step up on to a box @ 75% of knee height. Find max barbell weight on shoulders that you can handle without losing form when doing 10 reps on each leg.

Push up: Max number of reps without losing form. Perform either from toes or knees.

Split squat: Assume stagger stance with feet spread fore and aft by 50-60% of your height. Find the max barbell weight on shoulders that you can handle for 10 reps without losing balance or form.

Pull ups: Max number of full range of motion pull ups you can manage. If you can't do a full pull ups then use a rubber band for assistance.

These exercises will make up the general strength work you will be doing.

Sample Day 3

Aerobic Capacity Run

Warm up very easy for 10-15 minutes, working up to your aerobic threshold (AeT), then run for remainder of the time at AeT.

Sample Day 4

Aerobic Hill Run/hike

This is designed to get your more used to hills. Eventually you'll be doing repeats, but for now, keep this all at or below AeT.

Climb up for 35 min, and then turn around. If you don't have access to a long hill, do the hill part on a treadmill set to 10% incline.

Sample Day 5

Long Run-Trails

This is your chance every week to get used to moving over varied terrain and to practice your systems: hydration, nutrition, poles (if using), and gear (pack, etc). You'll be spending long days on the trail for your trip, so being able to eat while you go and eat a variety of things will be valuable. Try out different options so you'll know what works and what doesn't.

Sample Day 6

Aerobic run/hike

Eventually this will be a longer run, so think of this as time on your feet rather than getting a certain distance. Use it to practice hiking efficiently and run when you can.

Sample Day 8

Core and General Strength W.O.

Core routine:
Use above attachments for more information on these exercises. Use enough resistance (weight vests work well or hold a weight if needed) such that you can just manage 8-10 reps or an isometric hold of 6-10 seconds. Rest 30" between exercises.

This video can help with the core routine exercises as well.

(Amended Core): As you progress through the weeks use the easiest exercises for 1 set as a warm up or drop them all together to focus in more challenging exercises.

General Strength Circuit:
Find a resistance or assistance that allows you to manage 12 reps of each of the prescribed 4 exercises: Box Step Up/ Pull-Ups and Step Down/ Push-Ups

Then: Using that same resistance or assistance do just 10 reps of each exercise and rest 60" as you move to the next exercise in the order listed above. Work mainly on good form and control. Do not rush or cheat form.

This video demonstrates the Box Steps:

Week1-2: Do 2x though core and General Strength circuit.

Week 3-4 3 x Amended core and General. Add weight where need to constrain reps to 10. Rest 1min between exercises.

Week 5-6 3x Add resistance as you can for 8 reps. Rest 2min between exercises.

Week 7-8 4x through adding where where you can do only 6 reps. Rest 3 min between exercises.

Wonderland Three Day Tour Training Plan

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