The short answer is, yes, I had about a year of building a running specific base, culminating in my first (unofficial and solo) ultra (31 miles, 10K vert, on the Pacific Crest Trail in Washington). I tapered off after that with a short break in December. Short break was still sort of active but gave me a mental break to recover from work/life stress and frankly drinking too much beer (after listening to the overtraining podcast, that seemed important!). I considered that my “transition”.
I do understand that ME is cut during the rest week for the mountaineering plan, but what Sam’s talk on ME drove home for me that the difference in cadence and load for running makes the approach to ME different between mountaineering and mountain running. Last year I tried to following the methods more closely aligned with mountaineering plan in TFTNA since that is what I have experience previously. The result was improved endurance, but something was missing, a robustness or longevity in the legs especially for the downhills. What really cleared it up for me in Sam’s talk was to learn how, for running, ME should be considered part of the base period, almost as a replacement for the max strength sessions described in the mountaineering plans from TFTNA. Those ME circuits act as a base for HIIT sessions later for running; while the max strength sessions act as a strength base for the water carry ME hikes for mountaineering. (Hopefully I got that right; it’s how I’ve come to see it anyways). I was also encouraged by the talk with Luke Nelson, and how he used the ME circuits with great success despite his busy work/life schedule.
So, I added in the at-home ME circuit once a week on Tuesdays (as well as other changes in my methods), and the effect has been really positive so far.
What is confusing though is if I should continue to build the load of the ME circuit during the break week, or reduce the load, or, as you say, cut it during the rest week.