Ask GCN: How to Train for Everesting

Ask GCN: How to Train for Everesting

ON March 4, 2019 by Zwift

Question (Isaac Kangas): What’s the best way to train for Everesting, especially when there aren’t any big climbs around?

Ah, Everesting. Hands down the hardest climbing challenge out there: pick a hill and don’t stop grinding until you climb 8,848 meters (the elevation of Mount Everest).

In a single ride. Without any sleep. Brutal, but not impossible.

Hells 500 at inducts successful Everesters into their Hall of Fame. It’s an exclusive club, with members receiving access to unique merch and well-earned bragging rights. Who knows, maybe we’ll see your name up there soon, Isaac!

Fun fact: you can also make an Everest attempt on Zwift. Riding virtually may feel different than an IRL climb, but the numbers—and the glory—remain the same.

The Cold, Hard Numbers

Riders need to prepare for a long day out on the bike—15 to 24 hours on average!

By the end of the ride, you’ll have burned around 8,365 calories, a massive lunch by anyone’s standards.

Ironically, the training strategy for such a demanding ride is simple. The key lies in time, volume, and incline—not intensity.

How Do We Get There?

“You want to build up to a comfortable six-to-seven hour endurance ride and aim for 4,000 to 5,000 meters of climbing,” says Coach Kevin Poulton.

If you don’t have much time, break your training sessions down to three or four hours. Push to really get the distance in. Maximize your efforts by finding the longest climb around and repeat, at steady intensity, as much as you can.

After 4 to 6 weeks, increase the climbing your body can handle. Leave nothing on the table. The endurance you build here will be the defining factor in your climb.

Zwift Your Way to the Top

If you don’t have any good climbs around, Zwift will really come into its own as a training ground. There are a number of routes that perfectly replicate real-world climbing like the Lutscher, Radio Tower, and the Epic KOM. Personally, we’re into Alpe du Zwift, a route that rewards riders who crest the peak by entering them into a prize roulette. Gloves. Helmets. Even wheels.

Just head to free ride, set your trainer difficulty to 100%, and start building those climbing legs.

It’s a long way to the top. Let’s get started.

Good luck!

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