Mountaineering Training | Fit To Climb: Week 8

Posted by: | March 25, 2013
Categories: *Mountaineering Fitness & Training

Fit to Climb: Week 8 Schedule

DAY WORKOUT TOTAL TIME DIFFICULTY
1 Rainier Dozen / Easy Hiking ( 30 min) 42 min. Medium
2 Rainier Dozen / High Intensity Stair Interval Training (60 min) 72 min. Very Hard
3 Rainier Dozen / Rest 12 min. Recovery
4 Strength Circuit Training x 4 54 min. Hard
5 Rainier Dozen / Rest 12 min. Recovery
6 Fitness Test 60 min. Medium
7 Rainier Dozen / Hike (4 hrs, 15lbs of pack weight) 252 min. Medium
Total 8 hrs 24 mins

BRIEFING

You’re approaching the halfway mark of the Fit To Climb conditioning program. A question I often ask myself is, “If I had to do the climb today, how would it go?” I like to think that once I reach the halfway point, I could give it a strong attempt and with good conditions and the stars aligned, I’d probably make the summit and back.

This is the mindset that goes with the next few weeks. You still have a ways to go in order to arrive at the start of the climb in great shape, but you should feel confident that you are already more prepared than most on summit day.

To quantify that feeling of preparedness, you’ll perform the fitness test again this week. You should see big gains over your results from week 4 due to the volume of intense training you have done since then and the fitness test is a way to measure that progress.

For the hike, we’ll increase the length to 4 hours but keep the same pack weight of about 15 pounds. Everything else will stay the same this week.

DESCRIPTIONS OF WORKOUTS

Day 1: Rainier Dozen + Easy Hiking (30 Minutes)
Today’s hike is a recovery workout and you can always substitute it with a different activity, such as running, biking or swimming. The important thing is to move at a moderate pace for 30 to 45 minutes. The pace can be conversational, and you do not need to be dripping with sweat at the end of the workout.

Day 2: Rainier Dozen + Stair Interval Training (60 Minutes)
After the Rainier Dozen, warm up for about 10 minutes, and then climb up and down a set of stairs, at a consistent pace, for about 40 to 50 minutes. Cool down with some stretching. You don’t need to carry a pack on your stair interval training, the focus in this workout is on speed and intensity.

Day 3: Rainier Dozen / Rest
Begin your day with the Rainier Dozen. Feel free to take another 30 to 60 minutes of light exercise if you feel like it (a brisk walk is a great option). If you feel tired, today is a good opportunity be good to take a complete rest day instead. Listen to your body.

Day 4: Strength Circuit Training x 4
Repeat the strength circuit training workout introduced in Week 3. After warming up, perform four sets of the following exercises:

• Steam Engine
• Push Up
• Three Quarter Squat
Russian Twists
• Lunge
• Steam Engine Laying down
• Mountain Climber
8 Point Bodybuilder

Spend 40 seconds performing the exercises, and take 20 seconds between exercises to rest and rotate. Take a full minute of rest between each set. Take a full minute of rest between each set. Take ten minutes to cool down by stretching after you’re done.

Day 5: Rainier Dozen / Rest
Begin your day with the Rainier Dozen. Feel free to take another 30 to 60 minutes of light exercise if you feel like it (a brisk walk is a great option). If you feel tired, today is a good opportunity be good to take a complete rest day instead. Listen to your body.

Day 6: Fitness Test (1 Hour)
After a good ten-minute warm-up followed by the Rainier Dozen, first complete the timed run for a distance of one mile (or your original timed run distance from the first test) at an intense pace. Record your time and then rest for five minutes.
Following the timed run, perform the strength test as follows: count the number of perfect repetitions you can complete in 2 minutes for each exercise. Write down your scores for each test.
• Push-ups: 2 minutes, followed by 3 minutes of rest
• Steam Engines on Back: 2 minutes, followed by 3 minutes of rest
• 3/4 Squats: 2 minutes, followed by 3 minutes of rest
• 20-yard Shuttle Run: Set up your shuttle run course with some cones or water bottles. If you aren’t sure of measurement use 25 normal paces as a guide. Run back and forth between your markers for 2 minutes, counting each loop as one.

Day 7: 4 Hour Hike
This week you’ll increase the hike duration by about an hour, and approximately 2 miles. If you are hiking on steep terrain, this could add another 700 to 1000 feet in elevation. Adding an hour may seem like a small increment, but you are going from a medium length hike to a fairly substantial effort.

SUMMARY

Congratulations on reaching the halfway point of your training program! Take the time to review your performance in the fitness test and compare them to the results from your first fitness test during Week 4 of the Fit to Climb Program. The value of recording your results in the fitness test is to show quantifiable measurement. These results may show progress (faster timed run and more number of strength test repetitions) which means that you are getting stronger and the program is working for you. If your numbers are the same or have slipped a little, it tells us that we need to re-focus and take look at specific areas of your fitness that are not yet improving. Armed with that knowledge, talk to a local fitness expert or trainer about what you may need to work on in order to improve. 

Lastly, don’t forget to take the time to celebrate your achievements on your dedication and progress over the past 8 weeks!

- John Colver

Have a question? See the Fit To Climb FAQ for explanations of specific exercises and general pointers to help you through the Fit To Climb Program.

John Colver is a longtime climber, former mountain guide, and certified personal trainer with the American Council of Exercise. Colver introduced outdoor fitness classes to athletic clubs throughout the greater Puget Sound region before creating his adventX brand. Currently, adventX leads training programs in Seattle and Colver presents clinics on outdoor fitness at companies such as Microsoft, Boeing, the American Lung Association, and REI. Colver lives in Seattle, and is working on his second book, Fit to Climb - a 16 week Mount Rainier Fitness Program.

An RMI Team climbing Ecuador's Cotopaxi at sunrise.

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