"Training for the New Alpinism" and "Training for the Uphill Athlete"
I've currently got a mountaineering trip planned for later this summer, and I figured I should get back into shape and specifically train for it. The last time I was in mountaineering shape I was section hiking the AT, although I went into that with significantly less preparation.
I was recommended these two books by a fellow colleague who is going on the trip with me. Having read both of them, I've come away with some positive thoughts.
Both books are extremely straightforward, very little beating around the bush with foggy ideas of nutrition, training ideology, and all the pomp and circumstance that usually accompanies "fitness" books. Both are written by Steve House et al, and Training for the New Alpinism focuses on alpine climbing and mountaineering, while Training for the Uphill Athlete focuses on skiing, skimo, or mountain running. In fact, the impetus for writing Training for the Uphill Athlete was because mountain runners and skiers were using Training for the New Alpinism.
Both books cover some of the same material, especially the "human physiology" sections. You'll get a rundown of cells, aerobic vs anaerobic energy, glucose consumption, and nutrition. Pretty much the same material exists in either book, so don't feel compelled to read both books if this is what you're interested in.
In terms of actual training material, both books heavily emphasize the need for what they call a "Base Period", "a period to build a general resistance to fatigue by increasing the capacity of each of the fundamental physiological qualities that contribute to your alpine climbing success, and most importantly your aerobic threshold"1. This is highly important for setting up your training plans, where the books actually diverge. The rundown here is that fatigue hits us all differently, and training needs to accommodate this and plan for it.
Where the books diverge is the training planning sections: Training for the New Alpinism recommends a different sets of exercises and training plans than Training for the Uphill Athlete. Specifically, the core routine from Training for the New Alpinism is quite good and I'm eager to give it a shot. Training for the Uphill Athlete gives very detailed guidelines on running, skimo, and skiing, which is very useful if you're planning on progressing your training through one of those sports.
Overall, both books are quite good, and I'd recommend just picking the book that more closely aligns with your target sport. While I read both, I ended up skipping through good chunks of Training for the Uphill Athlete, as it was information I already read in Training for the New Alpinism. Each book is complete by itself, there's not a lot of need to read both unless you're like me and new to every one of the sports presented across both books.
Training for the New Alpinism, "Periodization"