Getting to grips with ME | Uphill Athlete

Getting to grips with ME

  • Creator
  • #45393

    I’ve finally managed to introduced ME into my training.

    My first couple of attempts were not pretty and I thought I’d share my experience.

    I’ve been active, with hundreds of hours of aerobic exercise annually, for decades but without sustained structured or high intensity training.

    My general and core strength assessments were good. I’d a year, approx 350 hrs, of TuFA based structured aerobic base building under my belt and my AeT within 10% of AnT.

    I started with the gym based ME from TfUA. It caused muscle stiffness that significantly restricted my ability to do long z1 and fasted Z2 runs.

    I stopped the ME and worked on the Functional Runner workouts from the Big Vert plan.

    I then started on the ME progression in the Big Vert plan. This led to strained hamstrings and a longer set back.

    Once I’d recovered I returned to the 4 exercises in TfUA’s gym based ME.
    I cut the starting workout right back, increased the recovery time between the exercises, and slowed the progression. Here’s what’s worked for me:

    WO1: 3 x 10 reps each exercise. 1 min rest between set, 5 mins active recovery between exercise.
    WO2: 4 x 10 reps. Same rest as WO1.
    WO3: 5 x 10 reps. Same rest as WO1.
    WO4: 6 x 10 reps. Same rest as WO1.
    WO5: 8 x 10 reps. 1 min rest between sets, 3 mins active recovery between exercise.
    WO6: 6 x 10 at 5% body weight. Same rest as WO1.
    WO7: 6 x 10 at 5% body weight. Same rest as WO5.
    WO8: 8 x 10 at 5% body weight. Same rest as W05.

    I have observed significant gains from the ME training. I’m sustaining better uphill speed at z1 HR and on long runs I no longer suffer shortening stride length or low level burning sensation in my hamstrings in the latter stages. I’m looking forward to further (slow) progression in ME.

    If there’s a secret sauce in TfUA’s method perhaps gym base ME is it 😉 ?

  • Participant
    Dada on #45395


    Anonymous on #45420


    Your assessment of the ME progression aligns with mine. If there is a UA secret sauce this is it! I developed these ME methods over 25 years by copying what some other sports did and trying slightly different things. My first experiment was in helping a friend prepare for the 1992 Winter Olympics. I could not believe the training effects we saw. Since then there have been many refinements but here is the REAL secret.

    You can do this in many different ways and still get good gains. There is no one right or wrong way to do this stuff. I’ve used many variations over the years, some times shifting the approach with the same athlete. It didn’t seem to matter too much which method I used. As long as you do this training in such a way that the local muscular fatigue (as opposed to global fatigue) is limiter to your work output you will get a good effect.

    Slow Twitch athletes (which you probably are) will get very stiff and sore from these workouts especially initially. FT athletes will shrug their shoulders and say “What’s the big deal”? I tried to make the progression very gradual and starting from a low level: no added resistance, long recoveries and suggested not going to deep on the jumps to avoid injury but mainly the soreness that comes after.

    It sounds like you have a done a good job of finding a tolerable way of doing this stuff. Each ME cycle you do, provided it is at least 4-5 weeks you will see an improvement. 12-16 week cycles will make your legs so much more fatigue resistant that you will be surprised.

    Keep up the good work and thanks for writing in.

    briguy on #45467

    FT athletes will shrug their shoulders and say “What’s the big deal”?

    Yes! (as a FT athlete)

    I also concur that the gym-based ME is my favorite (i.e. deemed most effective) thing about UA training. I love it.

    Not only has it made me feel more bullet-proof as a trail/mountain runner, it’s also made me a far stronger cyclist, a sport I also enjoy. In fact, I’d wager I have seen more use of it for cycling than for running.

    I’m still tweaking my approach though to the last microcycle before races though. I need to find a good transition from the gym-based ME to more strides/sprints uphill. My feeling is ME makes my legs strong, but slow.

    Anonymous on #45518

    That’s a good observation. For high-cadence sports like running and skimo, we don’t use ME as a sharpening tool for this reason. It’s best to “convert” that fitness to be more race-specific using traditional Z3/4 efforts.

    (In contrast, ME uphill carries are a good sharpening tool for mountaineers because the slower pace is very goal-specific.)

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