Best way to train for a 14er?

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stephakett
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Re: Best way to train for a 14er?

Post by stephakett » Tue Apr 13, 2021 7:43 am

Dave B wrote:
Mon Apr 12, 2021 6:49 pm
- walk/cycle/run/do something every day, even if it's something small
- strength train
- don't buy a heart rate monitor, ignore anyone who tells you you need one
- do a long hike every weekend, building up to larger elevation gains and distance (there are plenty of bigger vert opportunities at lower elevations; e.g. mountains above Boulder)
- keep it fun, the best workouts are the ones you want to do and will do consistently
i love every piece of dave's advice here, especially the first and last points. mix it up- overuse injuries suck and the easiest way to avoid them is to not restrict yourself to one type of exercise. but with that said, the best kind of exercise for anyone doing anything is the kind you enjoy and will keep up with.

have fun on your hikes! also a small suggestion for including restorative yoga in your weekly routines. very good for muscle/joint recovery.
“My father considered a walk among the mountains as the equivalent of churchgoing.” (Aldous Huxley)
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Re: Best way to train for a 14er?

Post by LetsGoMets » Tue Apr 13, 2021 7:45 am

Dave B wrote:
Mon Apr 12, 2021 6:49 pm
Quandary is an ideal first 14er, Bierstadt and Sherman are good candidates as well.

If you peruse the "Overweight Climber" thread, you'll find that diet is a divisive topic. Training will be the same. I guarantee someone will mention Scott Johnson's book Training for the Uphill Athlete in this thread. Please ignore that suggestion (it's somewhat puritanical, aimed at elite race-level athletes trying to eek out small gains in performance, or at least folks who think they're at that level) and just go hiking more. Strength training to improve leg strength and core stability will always yield positive results, especially in conjunction with consistent cardiovascular workouts.

- walk/cycle/run/do something every day, even if it's something small
- strength train
- don't buy a heart rate monitor, ignore anyone who tells you you need one
- do a long hike every weekend, building up to larger elevation gains and distance (there are plenty of bigger vert opportunities at lower elevations; e.g. mountains above Boulder)
- keep it fun, the best workouts are the ones you want to do and will do consistently
Solid post. For what it’s worth, HR is useful when you dial in your %’s. Yes there can be variables, but I’ve had excellent gains training aerobic vs anaerobic by diligently staying in my target zones.
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Re: Best way to train for a 14er?

Post by pvnisher » Tue Apr 13, 2021 7:58 am

Walk, run, bike, jog, stair masters.
Practice downhill when you can, too. It takes a surprising amount of effort to walk downhill.
Losing weight is one of the best things you can do to make going up and down easier on your joints and muscles.
I love poles to take some stress off my knees descending.

Carrying a weighted pack uphill (water jugs) then dumping them out for the descent is a great way to train your muscles without overly stressing your body. Your muscles will adapt faster than your ligaments and tendons.
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Re: Best way to train for a 14er?

Post by randalmartin » Tue Apr 13, 2021 8:02 am

Since you are based in Denver, I'll say the best front range workout hike is Bear Peak in Boulder. Depending on where you start it's approx 2,600ft in about 3 miles one way. Bear Peak will test your preparation in every way except for your performance at higher altitude. Use Bear Peak either as training or as a check of your fitness readiness.
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Re: Best way to train for a 14er?

Post by nyker » Tue Apr 13, 2021 8:56 am

rpdawes wrote:
Mon Apr 12, 2021 10:12 pm
Last summer at age of 80, I summit ed seven 13ers without any prior training. Did my weekly routine of walking 3 to 5 miles near my home and hiking mountains 8,000 to 13,000 feet high as often as possible. To me, training is a waste of time unless you climb Mt. Everest.

Happy trails!
Despite you say you don't like "training", your "weekly routine" is more "training" than probably 95% of people here including me get to do for specific mountain training and is far better training for mountaineering than just doing machines in the gym at sea level.
:-D I think most would be envious of your "lack" of training!
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Re: Best way to train for a 14er?

Post by justiner » Tue Apr 13, 2021 9:31 am

pvnisher wrote:
Tue Apr 13, 2021 7:58 am
Carrying a weighted pack uphill (water jugs) then dumping them out for the descent is a great way to train your muscles without overly stressing your body. Your muscles will adapt faster than your ligaments and tendons.
Hopefully, you read that the OP is self-described as overweight to begin with - I wouldn't recommend weighted carries for him. If I was holding as much as the OP, I wouldn't be able to roll out of bed, so I don't know if it's a good idea to introduce the idea of additional weighted anything, especially not up a mountain.

Weighted carries have their place for sure, but maybe not when your goal - like the OP, is in August. I think slowly and safely getting the weight down would be the biggest win in terms of reaching their goals; they're already plenty strong.
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Re: Best way to train for a 14er?

Post by Dave B » Tue Apr 13, 2021 9:52 am

madbuck wrote:
Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:24 pm
Dave B wrote:
Mon Apr 12, 2021 6:49 pm
I guarantee someone will mention Scott Johnson's book Training for the Uphill Athlete in this thread. Please ignore that suggestion (it's somewhat puritanical, aimed at elite race-level athletes trying to eek out small gains in performance, or at least folks who think they're at that level) and just go hiking more.
Ha. With the search feature, this book was mentioned in one throwaway thread in the context of optimality (or, at best, ambiguity). IMHO, it is an interesting and useful book within the admittedly small niche of hobbyists wanting to hike fast, which is a different than the more specific question here. (And also a different question than training for 'climbing' instead of hiking). I guess you don't like that book -- that's OK too!
I actually like the book (and TftNA) a lot, I think they're great tomes on developing an advanced base of endurance and a lot of people have found a lot of success implementing their recommendations and training plans. But, I also think the audience they're geared towards is not the standard 14erering weekend warrior type, who just wants to be able to do hikes on the weekends without feeling like they're going to die. For that group, just hiking more will work, without worrying themselves too much with heart rate zones, ADS, metabolic pathways, and macrocycles. TftUA a $100 solution to a $0.05 problem for most people, and it makes training god-awfully boring to boot.

I've also found that, for me personally, I benefit much more for a balanced approach to training that includes more Z3+ work than TftUA recommends. I've got a large frame, and a BMI that says obese when I'm fit enough to push out back-to-back 15+ hour days. Endurance has never really been my issue, it's how slow I am, especially with running. For me to stay in Z2 when running, I can only maintain a 14 min/mile pace. It sucks, I spent all of last year running huge volumes at that pace in hopes I'd get faster, but never really did, but I did end up with constant hip and knee pain from an awkward slow shuffle that kept my HR low. After taking most of fall and winter off, I'm running a lot less, but at a pace that feels natural/fun and with a lot more hills. My Z2 pace has dropped down to 12 min/mile in 7 weeks. I'm sure it can be argued that the large volume of aerobic work last year contributed to that, but even with intervals and tapering towards my event last year, I was never even close to "fast" as I am now.

n=1
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Re: Best way to train for a 14er?

Post by nyker » Tue Apr 13, 2021 10:19 am

ghart 999,

First off congrats on your goal of climbing Quandary!

Going to 14k for the first time is not easy, I think a lot of that is lost on some folks who have climbed hundreds of peaks and can train every week in the hills and take climbing up high for granted.

I don't know your background so I assume you've gotten a checkup from your doctor and have no underlying conditions that would complicate your training, if you haven't done so, not a bad idea to do first.

Lots of good comments here relating to getting out often, getting your "mountain legs", diet/nutrition, etc...I won't repeat on those recommendations.
I also realize life gets in the way and you might not be able to get out every weekend to do a climb/hike, weather may not cooperate, family obligations, etc.
so you should supplement your outdoor work with gym work and strength training as others suggest especially supporting muscles around your knees.

The one comment I'll provide another opinion on is relating to HRMs. I'd say, especially for someone who may be beginning a new training regimen is I think a good HR monitor is a useful tool on your way to becoming more aerobically
efficient (very important for improving your performance on longer days in the mountains). In my experience of training others, training with others as well as with my own training over the decades,
I find most people train at too high or too low a heart rate and a HR monitor (that works properly) is valuable to keeping you in an aerobic zone and really building an aerobic base, especially important if you don't have a solid base to begin with and are not accustomed to regular longer cardiovascular work. Importantly it also helps keep you from overtraining and reducing injuries over time. I find the older version HRMs with a chest strap have more accurate readings vs. the more modern watches with wrist sensors.

The more aerobically fit you are, the more enjoyable your mountain experience will be, all things equal. Some may argue with me but in my experience this also impacts the effects of altitude and ability
to recover upon exertion higher up.

I'll also mention to treat any injuries that come up early even if they seem benign... they have a way of getting worse if you neglect them limiting what you can down the road.

Good luck in your preparation
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Re: Best way to train for a 14er?

Post by rpdawes » Tue Apr 13, 2021 10:49 am

nyker wrote:
Tue Apr 13, 2021 8:56 am
rpdawes wrote:
Mon Apr 12, 2021 10:12 pm
Last summer at age of 80, I summit ed seven 13ers without any prior training. Did my weekly routine of walking 3 to 5 miles near my home and hiking mountains 8,000 to 13,000 feet high as often as possible. To me, training is a waste of time unless you climb Mt. Everest.

Happy trails!
Despite you say you don't like "training", your "weekly routine" is more "training" than probably 95% of people here including me get to do for specific mountain training and is far better training for mountaineering than just doing machines in the gym at sea level.
:-D I think most would be envious of your "lack" of training!
I agree with you on your comments. If I wanted to do rock climbing, a more intense training would be a good way to go. I don't like doing anything in a 4-wall enclosure like a gym because it is boring. My step-by-step approach to hiking mountains is that I usually begin with low-altitude peaks during the cold season and end up with high-altitude mountains during the warm season. If I want to speed up my pace of hiking, I would do anything to improve my lung power like doing workouts at home. I understand that many climbers like to summit a peak as fast as possible, but I don't care. I just enjoy hiking at my leisure pace as well as taking pictures. I have scored 188 summits in the past 7 years.
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Re: Best way to train for a 14er?

Post by ker0uac » Tue Apr 13, 2021 11:16 am

I find the idea of a HRM great, but I never found one that actually worked once you reach high intensity. The lag is too high. I have tried chest straps and wrist watches. Although chest straps are more accurate, they are awfully uncomfortable.

If you are feeling ambitious, I'd suggest first meeting with a physical therapist to assess your strength and endurance. I have experience with silly injuries resulting from overusing a certain muscle to compensate for underusing other muscles.
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Re: Best way to train for a 14er?

Post by nyker » Tue Apr 13, 2021 11:56 am

rpdawes wrote:
Tue Apr 13, 2021 10:49 am
nyker wrote:
Tue Apr 13, 2021 8:56 am
rpdawes wrote:
Mon Apr 12, 2021 10:12 pm
Last summer at age of 80, I summit ed seven 13ers without any prior training. Did my weekly routine of walking 3 to 5 miles near my home and hiking mountains 8,000 to 13,000 feet high as often as possible. To me, training is a waste of time unless you climb Mt. Everest.

Happy trails!
Despite you say you don't like "training", your "weekly routine" is more "training" than probably 95% of people here including me get to do for specific mountain training and is far better training for mountaineering than just doing machines in the gym at sea level.
:-D I think most would be envious of your "lack" of training!
I agree with you on your comments. If I wanted to do rock climbing, a more intense training would be a good way to go. I don't like doing anything in a 4-wall enclosure like a gym because it is boring. My step-by-step approach to hiking mountains is that I usually begin with low-altitude peaks during the cold season and end up with high-altitude mountains during the warm season. If I want to speed up my pace of hiking, I would do anything to improve my lung power like doing workouts at home. I understand that many climbers like to summit a peak as fast as possible, but I don't care. I just enjoy hiking at my leisure pace as well as taking pictures. I have scored 188 summits in the past 7 years.
That's fantastic, really. Good for you!
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Re: Best way to train for a 14er?

Post by rpdawes » Tue Apr 13, 2021 12:30 pm

I would like to share my thoughts with that 240-lb male who wants to summit a 14er this coming summer.

I won't recommend you to try such a strenuous endeavor since you are overweight or obese. I don't know how tall you are, but if you are 5'9" tall, you may be obese. Even I am no doctor, any obese person tends to have an enlarged heart. I have learned that a heart attack killed several hikers while ascending in the past. So I would advise you to check with your physician first regarding your physical fitness and keep your weight down to a manageable level.

Wearing a heart pulse monitor should be a very useful tool for any elderly to have. Don't listen to those young hikers who know everything! In order to hike safely, read the heart pulse chart at

https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living ... eart-rates

Good luck!
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