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Everest with Mountain Madness

Interval training for climbing and trekking

Inter­val Train­ing and how it can help you!

Inter­vals” are repeat­ed seg­ments of high inten­si­ty effort and low­er inten­si­ty recov­ery pieces, and can be done by run­ning up hills and jog­ging back down, briskly climb­ing up hilly ter­rain with a weight­ed pack and then walk­ing back down, or cycling through a set Inter­val pro­gram on a machine such as Ellip­ti­cal train­ers or step mills.

This train­ing tech­nique pre­pares you for the chal­lenge of work­ing near or at the Anaer­o­bic Thresh­old (AT); how­ev­er, be aware that you won’t be able to sus­tain that high­er lev­el of heart rate for any sub­stan­tial length of time. At high alti­tude, where there is less oxy­gen, you may some­times feel like you’re strug­gling to catch your breath. If you have trained your body to deal with such stress­es at low­er ele­va­tions, it’s like­ly that you’ll be more com­fort­able with those stress­es on a high mountain.

To incor­po­rate inter­vals into your pro­gram, place them on a short­er car­dio­vas­cu­lar day, per­haps pre­ced­ing a legs strength day and after a medi­um length car­dio day. Warm up thor­ough­ly for 5 – 15 min­utes to ensure increased blood flow to the large mus­cles in the legs and core. For your first inter­val day, try some­thing fair­ly tame such as walk­ing (with light­ly weight­ed pack) or jog­ging up a fair­ly steep hill for a minute, try­ing to get your heart rate 15 – 20 beats high­er than your nor­mal train­ing num­ber. Return to start­ing point at a com­fort­able pace so the heart rate drops down to base rate, and repeat until you’ve com­plet­ed 5 – 6 hills, or 6 com­plete inter­vals. The next time you try it, you can 1) add a hill, 2) try to go faster to get your heart rate high­er, or 3) add a lit­tle weight to the pack. Try to work your way up to 30 min­utes of intense inter­vals, and then make sure you cool down and stretch fol­low­ing that workout.

Since inter­val train­ing is quite intense on the body, we rec­om­mend only doing such train­ing once, maybe max­i­mum twice a week dur­ing the month or two pri­or to your climb.

Tip pro­vid­ed by Moun­tain Mad­ness Con­di­tion­ing Part­ner Body Results.