Tag: book review

Ice Climbing Training Manual UnPublished

In case you weren’t aware, I unpublished “Ice Climbing Training: In Season Program” last week. That means I took it off the list of available books on Amazon. I am still bound by the publishing contract, so am unable to sell it on my own sites, or on any other book sales site, like B&N.

Ice Climbing Training manual - my good friend and climbing partner Todd Gilles on the sharp end
Ice Climbing Training manual – my good friend and climbing partner Todd Gilles on the sharp end

Why unpublish Ice Climbing Training Manual?

That’s a good question, but the answer is complicated. When I first published it, I had a few sales and no reviews. Sadly, Amazon really only cares about sales and reviews statistics, and if you don’t have much of either, you could do a search “Ice Climbing Training” and my book would appear on page 10, after 9 pages of “hello kitty ice cube trays” and other miscellaneous nonsense.

I could have easily done what other best-selling authors on Amazon do, which is to buy reviews for anywhere from $5 (not legit) to $500 (legit) each. I chose instead to do the “Free Flash Sale” and offer the book for free for one day, with a day notice. I did this for my “Weight Training Secret Manual: 8 Hacks to Beat the Plateau” and got about 400 “sales” in the first 12 hours.

First in Kindle Category - Weight Training Secret Manual
First in Kindle Category – Weight Training Secret Manual

I tracked my links to the flash sale, and about 3000 individuals in my targeted “book buyers” “free book downloaders” “ice climbers” lists got to see the link for the free book. When the 24 hours of free were up, I had gotten 33 “sales” and at that point in time I decided to pull the book from Amazon and drop it. No interest.

Ice Climbing Training Manual Issues

Yes, I had a little bit of feedback. Here’s a general overview.

  • There was no actual ice climbing in the book.
  • There were no insanely intense radical circus trick exercises.
  • The exercises had nothing to do with ice climbing.

Well, right up front it was an in-season program. That means the majority of your extreme efforts should be in the actual climbing. You don’t want to get totally pumped out in the first 5′ of climbing because you were doing sets of 100 with a 365# Captains of Crush Hand Gripper. That would be awesome in the off-season program, but don’t do stuff like that in-season.

I don't suppose you use your shoulders at all while ice climbing?
I don’t suppose you use your shoulders at all while ice climbing?

An in-season program is designed to maintain gains made in the off-season, especially in the antagonist muscles, which don’t get anywhere near enough work in-season and eventually weaken, leading to higher potential for injury. A marathon runner will often train chest, back, shoulders and hamstrings in-season to assist in their long running training. It’s the same deal here.

I’m sure there are other factors involved, such as my lack of fame, but the fact remains that (surprise surprise) it actually costs me money to market my books and sell them, and I can’t afford to market this one when no one appears to want it.

That being said, I’m doing a Kindle Countdown Deal on all of my books starting late this week and going into next week. In a Countdown Deal, your book starts at $.99 and works its way back to the original price over a few days time. It’s in your best interest to get it early.

That last one was a little outside my usual box for you folks, right? It’s a dystopian young adult romantic triangle with zombies, and has great reviews, if that’s your thing.

Anyway, I will see how sales and reviews go for this group. Particularly for Finding Time to Train, and Summit Success, which have been a little low in the rankings for lack of reviews. I have mentioned a few times the review issues with Summit Success ARTICLE HERE, and will do so again in an upcoming article on my mountaineering pages.

Summit Success: Training for Hiking, Mountaineering, and Peak Bagging - Available Sept 23 on Amazon
Summit Success: Training for Hiking, Mountaineering, and Peak Bagging – Available Sept 23 on Amazon

If things don’t change for those two books I’ll have to pull them both as well. Time will tell. Thanks again though for all of you who have bought and read my books, and especially for those of you who have given me your honest heart-felt reviews.

Book Review: The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing

The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing

by Phil Maffetone

I’ve been training hard for quite a while now, and learned to cruise at 165 bpm heart rate. I have to go fairly quickly on the stairmaster to accomplish this, max’ed out the elliptical way before that, and can only run fast enough to accomplish it at an elevation of 6% or so on the treadmill.

Some recovery issues have prevented me from weight training very seriously for a few months now. As well, my continuously decreasing pace for the last few half-marathons and marathon. Based on the reviews for this book, and several top ranked triathletes having successfully used this training format, I decided to give it a shot.

The book is laid out linearly, in categories, so you can skip whole sections and not miss anything. Since I have long been free of most sugars and simple white carbs, I could skim those sections for tidbits but not get bogged down. If you still depend on them, then please, do read it.

Why is a book on training and racing talking about sugar? In a nutshell, the aerobic system needs only a trickle of sugar, depletes our massive fat stores, and is more easily recoverable. The anaerobic system consumes sugar, and in spite of any loading plans, runs out fairly quickly and takes longer to recover.

Standard training wisdom is to train like a sprinter, and work very hard to get your heart rate ever higher, but the point of this book is to help you increase your speed at a very low heart rate that will allow you to maintain that speed for a very long time with very little energy expenditure.

There are a lot of ideas for how to go about this, some self-tests to assess your current state, a lot of information on eating and fat reduction, as well as foot health – he’s a “sensible” bare foot advocate. I’m not really all that interested in barefoot running since I’m a big old guy who’s worn the wrong shoes for most of my life. It would take years of rehab to overcome all that, and honestly I really can’t give up training to learn a skill that isn’t likely to have all that much value. YMMV.

After a week or so of reading, I decided to go ahead and try it. Based on his formula, my target heart rate zone is centered on 132 bpm. ARGH! So I messed around some to find some combination of speed, and incline that would put me there. I reset my Polar so that Zone 2 is from 130-140. ARGH!

I have been working on the treadmill and stairmaster to achieve that goal HR. Very tough. My first couple days I kept going over, and had to step off now and then to rest, but after a couple weeks it’s not that hard to maintain the right pace. Btw: stepping off is a LOT harder to do on a stairmaster. 🙂

I got to try it at 10,000′ in Colorado. Since he doesn’t mention anything about heart rate at altitude I kept my target, and plodded along. No running in CO, pretty sure I can’t run at that altitude at that low a HR. The treadmill I have access to there allows a 20% incline so I can walk to achieve my zone. He does include one of the best sections I’ve read yet on high and low pressure/altitude training, resting, and sleeping. If you’re interested, that alone is worth the price of the book, imho.

After a few weeks of training that “slowly” I have noticed a visible (like in fat loss) change, my speed at that HR is actually increasing, and it’s getting easier to stay in the zone. I’ve been averaging around 20 miles a week for some time now, and this program hasn’t changed that. I’ll try this program for a few more months and will keep you in the loop.

If you’re an “endurance athlete” (events longer than 5k, day-long hikes or climbs, training more than 6 hours a week) or even just unable to recover from your current training, this book is totally worth a read.