Aerobic Base and ME workouts

  • Creator
  • #11008

    My primary sport is ski mountaineering but I also alpine climb (rock, mixed and ice) throughout. I use the stairmaster extensively because if I run downhill too often my knees hate me. I usually do 2 hour blocks in zone 1, 2-3 times per week strength/power 2 days per week then get out on the weekends. I have noticed that when I do these strait master workouts unweighted (or run), my performance in the mountains noticeably suffers after several weeks. However, if I do them weighted (I usually use a 45lb pack) I feel much stronger. My question is, if I am keeping it zone 1, do these weighted stairmaster workouts continue to build my aerobic base or do I need to be doing additional low intensity volume? I ask because there is really not enough time in the week to do strength/power, multiple stair master sessions and long runs if I also want to get out on the weekends. Thanks for any input! Always appreciated.

  • Participant
    hafjell on #11009

    Can you walk downhill without hurting your knees? I was in a similar situation at the beginning of my plan, and by week ten, my legs and knees were strong enough to run downhill (unweighted). It’s very difficult to replicate trail running or hiking indoors. IMO, the stairmaster is good for pushing yourself–the pace is constant/unrelenting. But for Z1 and Z2 long runs, it’s best to fit in time outdoors. Others with more experience while chime in.
    Rereading your post, if you really could not shuffle your schedule, I would consider dropping one of the strength/power sessions for distance. This whole program is built on TNSTAAFL. It sounds like you’re trying to get out of doing the hallmark workout: long, slow, nose-breathing distance.

    geltzeiler on #11025

    Thanks for the reply! I’m in no way trying to avoid long workouts. I routinely get out for long days in the mountains (4-6k elevation foot climbs of the volcanoesin OR). My issue is how actually about making my mid-week workouts longer. I can run for 1.5hrs but after that my knees start to hurt. If I run, I can do 10+ miles on rolling terrain or climb 1500 foot hills in Portland but then half the time is spent descending. However, while on the stairmaster, I can do a full 2 hours of all climbing (but not “against gravity”).

    Anyway, I think that I just need more weight for ME. With a 45lb pack, the rate limiter is HR not leg strength, so I guess those workouts are base workouts. If I put 60 or so in the pack, I think my legs would be limited more ME.

    hafjell on #11043

    Interesting. How do your knees do on the volcano weekends?

    My experience with the Stairmaster has been pain for the hip flexors and a decrease in flexibility, although I have gotten faster. I have done a lot of hours on the Stairmaster though, probably overusing it.

    I think you’re probably right about the weight. I found 40 pounds felt very heavy for the shoulders but didn’t do much to my legs. Another 10 pounds did the trick. In other words, as you experiment (and are concerned about your knees) maybe an increase smaller than 15 pounds will help you achieve the desired workout.

    One other thought: shoes. As you increase mileage/volume, the fit of your shoes becomes more important. If you just bought online or off the rack, might be worth having a fitting done at the most reputable shop in Portland. I know it’s running heaven out in OR, so assume there are lots of qualified shops.

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