Details when training to improve AT | Uphill Athlete

Details when training to improve AT

  • Creator
  • #71583

    Love your website and the book “Training for the Uphill Athlete” – thank you for awesome content!

    I’m primarily a runner. During the non-snow period I supplement running with roller ski skate and biking. During the winter I spend the most time skimo and skate skiing. I’ve been injured a lot but finally able to ramp up training hours ok. For the last 2 months I’ve been around 7-9 hrs per week, all z2, 5.5 hrs running, the rest alternative training.

    Did a lab test two yrs ago AT 150 (6:00 min/km), LT 175 (4:40 min/km). Planning on another lab test soon.

    1. From what I’ve learnt here, the best I can do is just train as much as my body can handle, all in z2 to improve my at, right? So I can go faster while staying aerobic, would like to get closer to 5:00 min/km pace for at.

    2. Is there any point for me spending time in z1 running? I’ve been doing all in z2 (except some sessions do have some time in z1 due to long downhills etc)

    3. Many of my z2 trainings end up being 5-10% of the time in z3 (150-155). I do mostly trail and hilly runs. When my hr alarm goes off (>150) I stop or slow down for a few seconds until I’m below 150 again. Questions is, how much does this matter? Is it more about just cumulating time in z2 or is every “interruption” up into z3 really bad for my at development?

    4. What are resonable expectations in terms of progress? I understand it’s hard to say. But assume I’m consistent around 7-10 hrs hr work. 30 yrs female – just a ballpark number in terms of improved aerobic threshold heart rate and pace VS weeks/months training?

    5. How should I think when doing skate and skimo? Can I use the same hr zones as for running? You do use a lot of different muscles 🙂

    Cheers from Sweden

  • Participant
    TLoftus on #71696

    Great questions Springrid. Here’s a few thoughts from an old guy–

    1, Training with the volume you can handle yes, but don’t forget recovery and modulation.

    2. I’m currently doing the 24-week big mountain plan where the variety of workouts gives me time in both zones 1 and 2 for the aerobic work.

    3. Great question. I’ve been meaning to ask this. I try not to exceed my AeT and it gets lots easier with practice. I have been considering success as no more than 5% over. Keeping it up going downhill is harder on our rocky White Mountain trails, especially when weighted, but that’s not avoidable, so I just add in extra up time. Really looking forward to other input on this.

    4. I’ve been doing UA strength/core workouts for about 14 months (don’t forget strength sessions!!!), and aerobic work for about the same except it took a while to slow down and do it by the book. I’ve seen some pretty outstanding results these last 6 months, especially since starting the 24-week plan 18 weeks ago. I’m 65 and have improved from an AeT of 116 to 126.

    Cheers from the White Mountains.

    Springrid on #71697

    Thanks!! Wow great job improving your AT! 🙂 Did you improve those 10 beats during the last 6 months or the entire 14 months?

    2. Yes not sure how I should think about when and where to put z1 workouts. z2 still feels easy. I guess once you improve and close that gap it naturally makes sense to replace some z2 with z1 work.

    3. Yeah I think similarly, the lower the percentage in z3 is the happier I am. Sometimes it’s zero 🙂 Just curious about the details of going just a few beats over your AT what that does. I’m rarely more than 3 bmp above and very rarely more than 5.

    I guess a follow-up on 3 is that I feel I could benefit from some stride work to replace faster running, the hr would then go up but just for those 20-30 seconds or so per effort. Would this be a good stimulus to improve running economy? And not hinder my AT progress?

    PaulB on #71716

    Regarding your third point and your follow-up third point, what I’ve always read on these forums is that to improve AeT it’s best to minimize z3/4.

    3. As I understand it, AeT is not a hard number and can change daily depending on your recovery (or life stress, or weather, or if you’re getting sick, or…). So if your tested AeT is 150 while you’re well rested, your AeT any given day might be 145 or lower. That means the 5-10% that you record in z3 could be even higher %.

    To prevent that, one option is to set HR zones in Training Peaks (or whatever you use) based on tested AeT but when running keep your max HR 5 beats below AeT. That way if you’re well rested your entire run will be in z2 and if you’re a bit fatigued it will still be mostly in z2. Also, on the uphills if you don’t catch a rising HR early enough you won’t go too much over for too long. It gives a slight cushion.

    For the stride work, I have heard exactly what you said, that strides are great stimulus to improve running economy. On my runs, I do a couple 8s strides almost every run as long as my HR stayed in z1/2 the entire run (I do them near the end of my runs). If I accidently spent a lot of time in z3, I skip strides. My HR always goes into z3 on the strides but the z3 time is usually 30-60s per run so it’s a pretty low % of total time.

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