How to cope with suboptimal terrain

  • Creator
  • #45741

    Hi guys,

    I want to include one Z3 workout (optimal: 3 × 12 minutes slightly below AnT) per week in my base period for the ski mountaineering season (not racing).

    My terrain for that kind of workout is challenging since I live in a city and I don’t have a car.

    So what I got in my city:

    Two hills (50m and 64m of possible vertical gain):

    How I see it:
    – they are too short for my Z3 intervals
    – I can do shorter Z3 intervals (4 minutes with 3 minutes rest since I need to walk down the hill; so also less than optimal resting periods)
    – I can do Z4 intervals (3 minutes with 3 minutes rest to walk down the hill)
    – I can do 9 × 30s/30s (Stephan Seiler mentioned in one of his YT videos that those are more like Z3 intervals due to 1:1 rwork-to-rest)
    – I can of course do Z3s on a flat ground but they are not so specific

    Atm, can’t run downhill due to injury just walk.

    I’m clueless how to deal with my terrain constraints for the Z3s?

    Best regards

  • Participant
    rich.b on #45746

    Hi Dada,
    I can sympathise with your terrain dilemma – at least the lack of vertical part, with one local ski hill with 48 m vertical (<2 min). A similar thread came up under Mountain running:

    Most will likely recommend treadmill workouts, which Scott J did in that thread. I just can’t manage mentally doing treadmill running or any running indoors, so I have always done tempo runs/longer intervals outdoors. For me I find the ability to maintain speed and rapid leg turnover valuable; consequently I often have done harder sessions on a nearby rolling 3.2 km x-c ski trail, which at least also gives some slight uphill/downhill benefits. Maybe because uphills have been my stronger side, but I find speedwork transfers for me (always a caveat) both for mountain/trail running and now also coming back into skiing (skimo (not racing) and skijoring).

    Anonymous on #45769

    I would much prefer to train intensity on a treadmill. I’ve done a lot of it in the past and, despite a long training history, it showed me just how inaccurate HR and RPE can be above aerobic threshold.

    But I digress…

    If you’re challenged with terrain, I would just do shorter Z3 repeats for the same or (slightly) greater volume.

    rich.b on #45777

    Scott, I recognize that is the preferance – I just cannot mentally handle being on a treadmill, also the caveat that I have not found uphills to be my weakness, so I gain more benefit personally from maintaining (or nowadays re-gaining) some speed. This may also stem from having mainly a running background. Hill repeats, absolutely!

    briguy on #45785

    There are a lot of tricks to overcoming treadmill boredom, but also consider that even that boredom itself is a training stimulus!

    Dada on #45786

    Hi guys,

    Thx for your replies!

    I have the same problem like you, Rich. I just can’t do those intervals on a treadmill (besides not having access to one of these bc membership fees for gyms are so unbelievable expensive in my city).

    I will stick to the shorter Z3s with too much resting between work periods then.

    Thx guys!

    rich.b on #45816

    Not to hijack Dada’s thread, but … Scott, I knew someone would chime in about the treadmill! As for monitoring HR, I understand its value, but for me too much data tracking turns training into ‘training’ and too much focus on numbers; however, I do sparingly use an HR monitor to verify RPE and keep effort honest, as well as to help establish what pace(s) I want to hit for tempo runs. And there are volume blocks when indeed I want to hit certain numbers.

    Briguy, running has been my mainstay daily outdoor-fix since the early-80’s, so cannot do it any other way. Gym and even the occasional spinning are ok, because they keep me healthy for running.

    Dada, to your previous question on 2 versus 3 harder session during the week (to which Scott and I answered), you might be interested in the recent Norwegian study specifically on 2 versus 4 harder sessions (but same amount of intensity time), which Koop/CTS recently cited. But go the actual article because the details are interesting (it is open access:

    Dada on #45818

    Hi Rich,

    Thx for the hint! Just stumbled across that summary yesterday. Atm for the base period, that volume of intensity would be probably too high though. And did Gym ME on Tue, I still so much DOMS in my glutes. So no way of doing Z3 & ME back-to-back ?

    Best regards

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