Train Locally, Climb Globally: The 5 C’s of Training

Train Locally, Climb Globally: The 5 C’s of Training

April 27, 2021 fmg-adminAlpine & Ice Climbing Guides' Tech Tips The Guides' Climbing Adventures

Training. It’s a critical portion of any adventure, whether around the corner or across the world. We train to get our bodies and minds accustomed to the stresses and pressures of our destination, and in an ideal world, I would want to train as globally as I climb. That being said, work and family responsibility often take priority. Otherwise, I’d be on a permanent vacation to train!

I’m guiding Denali this summer with International Mountain Guides after having guided Rainier the last few summers, and I’ve been training all spring down here in North Carolina while guiding for FMG. We have an incredible resource in forests and public lands, and I use them to their fullest extent!  Here’s how I train locally to climb globally. I have five “Cs” that I use to focus my training.

First, I work CARDIO.  I run closed forest roads. They are a happy medium between full-on trail running and pounding pavement. I’ve found I can keep my heart rate closer to the aerobic thresholds that I want on forest roads than on trails. I’ll still run trails, for sure, and especially when I’m going for a longer, distance-based run.

The second “C” I focus on is CLIMBING. I primarily focus on hill climbing, and that’s for specific muscle group improvement. The Southern Appalachians are steep, and finding a trail that crushes me isn’t hard. I prefer to rely on outdoor trails; using a stairmaster inside just doesn’t cut it. Moving on the rough terrain helps to build stronger ankle stabilizer muscles, which helps when I’m using big boots and crampons at 20,000 feet!  Of course, I can’t talk climbing without the rock portion of climbing. Rock climbing is training, and it actually incorporates several of the ‘Cs’ all at once. And, let’s be honest, I love it. It’s tons of fun!

profile picture of Dan

CORE. Like its name suggests, core work is critical. It serves as the foundation we move off of, and having a strong core facilitates health in other parts of my body. Rock climbing is helpful and fun for me, but core work is much more than that: weight lifting, body weight exercises, and stretching are all essential for a decent core workout.

CALORIES! Eating is fun, and it’s a delightful challenge to find good solutions to nourish myself.  This varies, depending on who you are, but make sure you consume enough fuel to actually build muscle. I trained for several years and was often discouraged by my lack of progression and abundance of injury. I began incorporating an intentional diet into things, and the results were significant. We cannot skip the fuel our body needs to perform and grow.  Make the food you eat work for you, but avoid dieting fads. Balance what you eat with what you do, and know what your BMR is for a baseline.

Finally, keep it CASUAL! Don’t forget to rest and recover. Our bodies need it. Varying my workouts and rest sessions keep me healthy and stoked. We train for our big adventures, and it’s easy to forget the end goal when we are on mile 7 of a trail half marathon.  

Training is an individualized activity, and learning the language of our bodies is critical. Don’t hesitate to hire a personal trainer or join a mountain-specific program like the Uphill Athlete system. Having that professional opinion will help you reach those goals much more smoothly.  

These five C’s-Cardio, Climbing, Core, Calories, and Casual-help to focus my training plan, so that when the time comes to perform, I’m ready regardless of the objective! I look forward to swapping summer adventure stories with you when I return to North Carolina in August!

Dan Reithmuller

AMGA Assistant Rock Guide, AIARE PRO 1

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