Planning Your Training for Best Results

A guide on how to plan your sessions and avoid over training

Words by Tori Hadley – Base Camp Head Coach

Consider this law of the universe: Everything in our life is in constant change, constantly in the process of becoming something else. Nothing stays exactly as it is. Nothing.

So why would your training be any different?

Let’s say you break your training down to it’s simplest form and you do 1000 step ups 4 days a week with a heavy pack. Even if your body was capable of doing this and/or recovering adequately from it, do you think your performance would increase? Doing the same thing week in week out, even if it is specific and relevant, will not demand more of the body and force any adaptions and growth. The point here is, your training must change, in order for it to be effective.

Our memberships and training plans give you the ability to train as much as you want. But with great power comes great responsibility. It is the equal responsibility of our coaches, and yourself, to attend or undertake the optimum amount and type of sessions for your stage of training. As part of our mission to empower people to train on their own for the mountains, we’ve created this guide which will be dependant on each person and goal. We don’t have a program suitable for every person and mountain, but with the information in this post you can decide the best option for you.

Base Training Period anywhere from 4 to 16 weeks

The purpose of base training is to increase the ability of your body to make the basic physiological changes and to build your aerobic threshold. The initial changes you will see are to the central nervous system and this will increase the effectiveness of the way your muscles work.

Some of your training in this phase will be done at an easier rate, as the aerobic adaptations respond better to slow changes. This is the time your body is building its strength base. If you are new to training, a good coach will ensure you keep your weights and work capacity at a lower intensity.

These early stages of your training see your body building its strength and endurance base which is putting in place the foundations to make your adventure a better physical experience. It is often likened to building or adding to a bank account. The bigger your balance(base) the more you will have to draw from later. You cannot fake reps in the mountains, if you haven’t done the work, it will show up when you need to dig deep.

Beginner Mountain Athlete: Transition Phase 1 anywhere from 4 to 16 weeks

A new Mountain Athlete,
In this phase you are building a base to work from. People new to training will also be learning the techniques for training correctly.
We recommend for beginners;

1 x Strength & Power Session
2 x Endurance Focused sessions
1 x Mobility Session
1 x Long Pack Weight Training Session

Building on your Strength Gains Phase 2 anywhere from 4 to 16 weeks

In this phase you begin to see a lot a the fitness gains and can start increasing the volume of training. Your weights will increase and the amount of endurance work should increase so you start building the areas you will need for long days trekking or climbing. People with an already developed base or someone that has previously been trekking and training we recommend:

1 x Strength and Power Session
1 x Strength and Conditioning Session
3 x Endurance Sessions
1 x Mobility Session
1 x Weekend long hike (increasing time and/or weight in pack)

It is during this phase, that you should actually feel your weakest. Your performance will drop. This is intentional and desirable. ie, the training is working. Just wait it out until…

Well Planned Training Pays off in Unexpected Snowfall
Well Planned Training Pays off in Unexpected Snowfall

The Specific Period. Phase 3
anywhere from 4 to 16 weeks

In this phase, your training gets specific to your adventure, now it’s time to feel strong. It’s important you pick up your time in the local mountains and start really using the gear for your adventure. This where your training gets serious and your focus should be on staying healthy and injury free. Recovery is always important and with increased training loads, even more important. Good Nutrition, Frequent Rolling, Massage and Sleeping Well, should become priorities.

Tip: Train your weakness, Build on your strengths

When you have 6 weeks to do until your trip departs, we recommend:

1 x Strength and Power Session
1 x Strength and Conditioning Session
3 x Endurance Sessions
1 x Pack weight session
2 x days weekend trail/trekking using gear you will be trekking with.

Tapering Phase 1 to 2 weeks

Tapering is last phase of your training. It is often the week before you leave. In the tapering phase we are coming off the the intense Specific Phase and need to let our bodies refresh and recover well. This is so when you begin your adventure, your body is ready to perform at its highest level.The length and type of tapering is very specific to the amount of previous training and quality of your recovery. This is something to discuss with your coach.

Recovery Week

Our programming here at the Base Camp in Brisbane is designed so that it allows recovery every 6 weeks or so, And for good reason. It allows your body to catch up. It is also crucial that you do also, by roughly halving your normal volume of training. Turning up to 8 recovery sessions in a week does not count as good recovery, your overall volume in hours needs to be reduced every 6 weeks to enable muscular and cardiovascular adaptations to set in.

TIP: You don’t get strong when you train, you get stronger when you rest.

The Big Mountain Coaches are always available to advise you on how to ensure you are training right for you. Feel free to ask any questions or make an appointment for a time to discuss your training, and your options for online training with us.

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