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Where to train for Tour du Mont Blanc?

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 lbonline 21 Feb 2020

First time poster so hopefully this is in the right section. I'm all booked up to do Tour du Mont Blanc in July. I'd class myself as relatively fit, I keep active, mainly been cycling (commuting to and from work ~15 miles 2-3 times a week with a 40+ mile ride on a weekend up to ~80 miles) however in the last year or so I've really began to enjoy walking again and the bug has well and truly bitten me. My longest day so far has been 30 miles and I've done multi day efforts of around 20 miles for 4 days in a row but both of those were relatively flat in terms of elevation in comparison to what will be ahead of me.

I'm under no illusion however that the best way to train for TMB is to get out there and get walking up some hills. However as I live in the South West (Bristol) I feel my options are relatively limited to get hill fit unless I am able to travel further north which will get expensive quickly (I am not earning big bucks sadly lol). I will have the opportunity to both do Snowdon and at the very least one or two day hikes in the Lakes in the coming months but those are one time deals thanks to piggybacking lifts with friends travelling north.

The most obvious choice would be to go to the Brecons which I have been doing as often as time and money allows (I can usually afford go out to once or twice a month) but I was wondering if anyone had any other suggestions where might be good to go and train a little closer to home. Any advice will be very much appreciated

 DaveHK 21 Feb 2020
In reply to lbonline:

Is there not plenty of up and down on the SW coast path? It doesn't need to be big mountains, long days with shorter ups and downs will be fine especially as it sounds like you've got a good base. 

How many days are you doing the TMB over?

1
 lbonline 21 Feb 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

I'm not entirely sure I'm yet to do it so really appreciate the suggestion I'll have a look into it! I've mainly been going to the Mendips and around Cheddar when I can't get out to the Brecons so something different would be great anyway.

I'm planning on doing it over 10 days but have 12 days booked to be on the safe side, I didn't want to underestimate it. As this is my first time going abroad to do something like this I wanted ample time to take it all in and really enjoy the experience of it while not feeling like I have to rush or cut sections out to make it back in time. Worst case if I do finish earlier is that I get to spend some more time in and around Chamonix which is somewhere I've always wanted to go.

 CEW 21 Feb 2020
In reply to lbonline:

I did it a couple of years ago ‘running’ it in 4 and a half days, I’m not much of a runner but this was perfectly doable with being hill fit from walking every other weekend. If your doing it over 10-12 days that means less than 1000m elevation per day and the shorter distances will mean being able to take your time and have rests/photo stops. South Downs sound ideal from what I know if it. I wouldn’t stress too much as other than the main climbs there’s plenty of flatter areas to recover and a lot of the height is gained gradually also - enjoy! 

 DaveHK 21 Feb 2020
In reply to lbonline:

10 days allows for pretty leisurely days. There's a fair bit of up and down but it's all on good paths. With a 10 day schedule you'll most likely only be doing one major climb a day and sometimes not even that. There's only about 10,000m of climbing in the whole thing so that's only 1000m per day average!

If you've managed 4 back to back 20 mile days even on flatter terrain I'd suggest you're in plenty good shape for a 10 day TMB and might even surprise yourself. Are you using huts etc?

 lbonline 21 Feb 2020
In reply to CEW:

Blimey! I'm sure that was an experience :D thanks for the input, seems I have booked plenty of time to do it which definitely puts my mind at ease.

& @DaveHK I'm planning on camping for the majority of it where I can but I'm booking huts for 1 or 2 nights where the campsites seem a bit more scarce (and I have been training regularly with a pack heavier than I intend to take just to get used to moving around with weight on my back)

Post edited at 11:17
 mysterion 21 Feb 2020
In reply to lbonline:

Whatever, but try the myrtille tart at Tré la Tête hut.

 Big Steve 21 Feb 2020
In reply to lbonline:

The Tour de Mont Blanc was my first big trip as well, I did it solo in 2004, camping every night. I think it is still the best trip I have had. For training, I didn't do anything special, just cycled to work every day and went for a few long walks in my local Children Hills. 

 Roadrunner6 21 Feb 2020
In reply to lbonline:

I haven't walked it, but I've ran the UTMB.

The big difference is don't look at total ascent but more the long ups and downs. I modeled my training on another runner who did the same the year before I did. So rather than go along ridges which may give me a lot of ascent, I'd go up and down. Summit to valley to summit to valley type walks multiple times.

 Barrington 21 Feb 2020
In reply to lbonline:

I did exactly what you're planning on last September (as a not as fit as he should be 55yr old). I got everything down to less than 13 kilos (the check in limit on easyjet) including tent etc. Flights get much cheaper in sept when the schools go back, then got Alpine Drop-off to Les Houches (you'll arrive mid-day when everything is shut, but one shop opened so I could buy gas & lighter. Did it in 10 days, taking a couple of the longer variations. I carried 2 days food & munched in villages when I could & it worked out fine. Two nights in a cheap hotel  before journey back home. Basically I was a bit slower than the Cicerone timings, so walked slightly longer days (theirs are quite short really). I only really managed a couple of hours walk a day training beforehand & a few sessions on a stepper. You'll be fine & it's a great walk.

 McHeath 21 Feb 2020
In reply to lbonline:

The biggest continuous ascent available to me in Berlin before 1989 had all of 80m height gain (the old ski course on the Teufelsberg, which is steep grass). So I used to train for the Alps by packing a rucksack with telephone books twice a week and walking up and down it 15 times in a row, which gave 1200m total of ascent and descent. I'd have done more reps, but it was boring as hell (I'd start off with 15 small stones in one pocket and transfer them one by one to the other so as not to lose count). I like to think that it helped  

In reply to lbonline:

Easy for me to say perhaps but I think you're overthinking it. I took the family round when I was 60 and spectacularly unfit - the rest were fitter but with other issues and we were all fine. It's carefully calibrated to be do-able; enjoy!

 Gwilymstarks 22 Feb 2020
In reply to lbonline:

100 laps of the steps at Brean Down. Nothing on the TMB will be anywhere near as hard as that

 Pero 22 Feb 2020
In reply to lbonline:

You can train on your bike and at the gym.  Obviously it's better to get out onto some real hills, but it's not essential.

From what you've said I can't see fitness being an issue on the TMB.

 LakesWinter 22 Feb 2020
In reply to lbonline:

In the GYMMMM

GET BIIIIIG

In reply to lbonline:

Much will depend on how much weight you are going to carry but if you take it steady and use walking poles I'm sure a reasonably fit person will be able to acclimatise over the trip. There are some steep sections but just keep putting one foot in front of the other and they will pass.

It is a very nice trip although some of the Huts can be a little difficult to sleep in (lots of snoring and farting). Have a great time.

 SouthernSteve 23 Feb 2020
In reply to lbonline:

I think the overall trend here has been you’ll be fine, but if you want to have the best fun long days in the hills are going to do the most or perhaps running with rolling hill repeats.

I used to ‘run’ in the gym with the treadmill at 25% when training for the Alps when we lived in the Fens, but it is not the same even with additional strength training. 


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