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Training for our trips to climb | trek | ski | run
Introduction to training
Training preparations
Types of exercise
Icicle training planners
Personal trainers
These pages have been written by qualified Personal Trainers, exclusively designed for Icicle clients, to help get you into the best shape for your course. It has been written to dispell many training myths, and if you are likely to get a bit upset by having to admit some home truths, then reach for the Kleenex now! Having said that, we aren't expecting you to become a mountain machine, but the fitter you are, the more you can and will achieve. Lack of training is the key cause of failure to reach a summit or to complete a tour...

Key ideas and points to note about our training pages
Worried? If you are in any doubt about your training, then you should visit your GP in the first instance, or then a Personal Trainer to ask them to help you develop a personnalised training planner for you.
Advice? If you still have any queries after reading these pages, get in contact with us and speak to one of the guiding team. Speaking to someone who is in the mountains every day can be a real help.
Icicle training? We offer a range of Alpine trail running courses, for those who seek specific hill or fitness training. See the Alpine Trail Running courses and Personal Training sessions for a mountain fitness assessment. We also offer UK mountain skills weekends, in the Lake District for just £99 per person. For more information on these training weekends, please visit the course page; click here.

So what are the next steps? (excuse the pun)
Take stock of what shape you are in at the moment, and also what shape you need to be in for your course, be it a climbing ascent or maybe a multi-day ski tour. You then have the start and end points and your training requirements need to be tailored to join them. The key error that most people make, is that they are over-optimistic about their fitness level, or take confidence in the fact that there are some well publicised ascents of mountains by people who are clearly not in the best shape. It's not a case of training to the minimum level. It's about training to a good level to give you a good margin for success, and the fitter you are, the more likely you will be to enjoy your course too.

Before you start any training, please ensure you read this
If you are starting at a very low (or non existant) level of fitness, you need to get yourself checked by a doctor before you start any of our training programmes. It cannot be stressed enough that these training planners are designed to build people up to good levels of fitness, and that there may be a high risk of injury or even death to those who follow these without getting medical advice beforehand. Don't put yourself at risk by ignoring this. Get a check up as soon as possible!
We provide more information about training than any other mountain guiding operator, yet it is never as simple as giving a fixed training planner to a person, and saying that if they follow it then they will be fine. We provide this information in good faith for you to adapt it to suit your specific needs, to ensure that you arrive in good shape for your trip. We cannot be held liable for any lack of your personal fitness! Indications of fitness required for each course are to provide suitable training goals.


The fast and light alpine philosophy is an approach honed and adapted to the environment. The sheer scale of the mountains, the changeability of conditions and the altitude demands fitness, experience and speed for safe passage. Thus early starts and a steady relentless pace with few stops is the norm. I could see now that Icicle were not over-playing the fitness aspect and why most of the guides in Chamonix are small and skinny

Nigel G , Alpine Introduction course


Which mountain sports are these Icicle training pages aimed at?
We run a wide range of mountaineering, skiing and trekking courses, all of which have different training needs, but all share a common requirement of a good level of aerobic fitness. These pages have been developed to build up your fitness to a good enough level for the course. For more advanced training some specific muscle and tendon training is required, but for the majority of our courses (e.g. Mont Blanc, Off Piste Skiing, or Alpine Trekking) no specific training is needed above a good level or aerobic fitness. These pages talk you through the planners to choose which are the most suitable for your course, as well as the general principles of training, the holistic approach, diet and hydration, and the types of exercise that you could consider using. Just remember...

Training isn't about joining a gym, putting on fancy trainers and jogging with your iPod looking good.
It definately isn't about being really strong with big muscles, able to bench press huge weights.
It's about getting very hot, sweaty, smelly, out of breath, and feeling like you want to stop!
FREE training podcasts


FREE Podcast
Training for Mont Blanc
A no holes barred podcast, to fully explain what an ascent entails physically and technically, including several examples of hill training.
Download podcast (3.48 MB)
See all the Icicle podcasts


FREE Podcast
Starting out trail running

A fast growing sport, & this podcast explains what it involves, how to get into it, and exactly what equipment that is required...
Download podcast (3.76 MB)
See all the Icicle podcasts
Latest news from Icicle
Why choose our trips?
See our Alpine blog, by clicking on the Word-press logo to the right.
Icicle Blog
Itinerary flexibility to allow you to take full advantage of the weather windows on any day, to maximise your summit chances.
Our prices are fixed in £ Sterling, to protect you from euro fluctuations, so you can budget accurately.
There is a choice of routes to opt for, depending on the weather, conditions, and your experience.
Any further questions?
A key part of choosing a company is being able to come and talk about your plans with an experienced course advisor face to face. In an increasingly virtual world, we know our clients value speaking to real people, getting open and honest advice. The vast majority of our clients are British, and our office and outdoor store is based in Windermere in the English Lake District.



Get in contact to arrange a meeting, and come in for a coffee to discuss your course in person with a trip advisor.
 


 
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