Another base period ME question

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  • #21011

    Feel free to point me in the right direction if this has been answered somewhere else but I haven’t found anything yet.

    Just for some background, I’m on week 9 of my base period for a Mt Rainier climb in early July. What athletic background I have is long hikes/backpacking trips in the Cascades and Olympics for the past 10-15 years so climbing around in the mountains with a heavy pack isn’t new to me, just new to this kind of structured training and running which is slowly becoming more enjoyable. AeT is about 152, AnT about 167 based on the DIY methods described on the site.

    I know it’s been stated that HR isn’t reliable during the ME but in TftNA and elsewhere on the site it’s stated that it should be Zone 1/2 effort breathing/HR and Zone 3 in your legs. I just did my first ME and I couldn’t stay out of Zone 3 for my heart rate. For reference, the trail I went up gained 2500 feet in 1.2 miles (the old Mailbox Peak trail to the junction for anyone familiar with the Issaquah Alps) and I was carrying about 25-30 lbs. I definitely felt like my legs were the limiting factor but my breathing was getting to the point that nose breathing was possible but not super comfortable. I’ve done another trail on that mountain as a Zone 3 without additional weight that gets to the same point in about 3.8 miles and it took me the same amount of time. That time I felt like I was being limited by breathing.

    My question is, should I count that as my Zone 3 workout for the week and make up the rest of the time in Zone 1/2 or is it OK to do another Zone 3 workout as written in the book? It’s been two days since I did it and I feel pretty good already but I don’t want to overdo it because I’m having fun with the harder stuff.


  • Inactive
    Anonymous on #21017


    Thanks for writing with your questions. I’ve probably answered something similar somewhere but tracking it down would take time and it’s better if I just address exactly what you are asking. The old Mailbox trail averages almost 27% for 5000 vertical feet making it ideal training terrain. Very few places close to big cities offer so much relief and with such a steep trail.

    I suspect the issue for you on this ME workout was that the pack was too light. We call these Z3 efforts because they’ll feel like Z3 in your legs and have the same training effect. Your unweighted Z3 climb should feel limited by the whole package (global fatigue) whereas this one is meant to target the legs. Try 40lbs next time and see if that does not lower your HR.

    If you are doing ME workouts I would drop the any other high intensity work like the Z3 uphills. Since you are unfamiliar with this type of program there is way more risk of over doing the high intensity than under doing it. One hard ME a week will do the trick. Keep the volume of Z1-2 high during this time as you will need to aerobic support.

    I hope this helps,

    Dane on #21063

    That pretty much confirms what I was thinking about my HR getting so high but I didn’t want to rush into adding more weight and overdo it. I’ll try it with 40lbs next week and see how that goes.

    Thanks for the quick reply, I definitely would have kept doing Z3 stuff in addition to the ME otherwise. They’re fun and a little addictive but I don’t want to burn out before my climb.


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