I could be wrong, but the first thing that I’m thinking is that maybe your legs are strong enough and now the thing to do is use less weight but go faster.
I’ll ask Scott J. to comment on this as well.
For mountaineering ME training, the most accessible hill I have is a steep street that ascends about 700′ in ~0.75 mi (~18% grade by my calculation). I have to add quite a bit of weight to fatigue my legs because the grade is not ideally steep (30% or more from what I read here); I end up carrying a pack of ~75 lbs. When I trained last season, even when trying hard, my heart rate was pretty low (i.e. well within Z2). This season, maybe my legs are stronger, and I end up with a HR bordering Z3/Z4 while going uphill.
I tried using stairs for comparison with the same weight. The series of stairs I used ascend about 128′ in 0.1 mi (about 24% grade). While doing laps on these I found my HR hit and exceeded my AnT. I wonder if this is because of the steeper grade and shorter lap – I get sucked into going faster, and I found it more exhausting (I was not really paying attention to my HR while doing this).
My questions are the following:
1. When using stairs should I just pace myself better so I keep close to my Z3 HR and not exceed my AnT?
2. Since I have to add a lot of weight, my shoulders are sometimes screaming for a rest after about 1.5 hours (and I have not yet completed the 1 hour of hard uphill yet). Is it cheating to take the pack off for a few minutes before continuing with the laps:)
Posted In: General Training Discussion
It seems like your legs are stronger this time through the training cycle. Good for you but this does present you with the problem you now face……You’re too darn strong! That’s a good problem to have.
If you have no other alternative to the hills/stairs you mention I see two options for you:
1) Disregard HR and just go as hard as can up the hill with as heavy of a pack as you can manage for the full duration of the workout. You get a good bit of the ME while also adding to your overall aerobic endurance when you are in Z3 or 4.
2) Drag a heavy tire up this hill. You might have notice the picture of Steve doing a tire drag on our first book Training for the New Alpinsim. Works great at loading up your legs and is a good conversation starter to boot.
We’ve had great luck with people doing these workouts on stair machines, which are nearly 100% grade so much more similar to mountain terrain you may encounter on your climb.
I’m glad that you mentioned your heart rates! Your AnT / AeT gap is 22%. Ideally, it would be below 10% before adding ME work.
The size of the gap indicates that your lowest hanging fruit right now is to stay below 145 until AeT is above 160. Your legs are obviously plenty strong, so I think you can probably lay off the weighted carries entirely and focus on getting your base in order.
Thanks, Scott J and Scott S! Right now I’m on week 21 of the 24 week plan, which I will be extending by 4 more weeks since my climb got postponed. During this time I plan to repeat weeks 21 and 22 a few times before the tapering weeks (23 and 24). Weeks 21 and 22 have 1 ME workout per week and the weekend has hikes under AeT with 20%BW. Do you suggest replacing the ME workout with an AeT workout (say 2 hour run?), or doing an ME workout on alternate weeks?
Scott S is correct that ideally your have a smaller gap between the AeT and AnT. But the important qualifier it that word ideally. If you have an important goal climb planned for the end of your 24 week cycle then you should still include the ME workouts. The ME workouts provide a necessary training stimulus to prepare you for your climb. Your aerobic base is not what is should be or no doubt can be in the future with more base training but for this training cycle, if you have to carry a heavy pack steeply uphill on a bi mountain in a few weeks then you NEED that ME training regardless of whether your aerobic base is ideal.
I hope this makes sense.
Thanks, Scott. I just did an AeT test on my treadmill. My HR after warm up and at the start of the 1 hour at constant pace and incline was 146 bpm. There was only 3.5% change in the avg HR from the first to the second 30 min, so it seems like the AeT has increased, though I will probably need another test to determine the new number. I have not tested the AnT in a long time (probably 9 months). I think the gap might be less than I think based on past numbers (AeT was tested at the start of the 24 week program), which is good news!
I tried another test. My HR after warm up and at the start of the 1 hour at constant pace and incline was ~155-156 bpm. There was 5.1% change in the avg HR from the first to the second 30 min after that, so I guess my AeT has gone up to ~154-155 bpm! That’s great. I did not see such an increase when I used the 16 week program last year, which speaks to the extended base building period in the 24 week program. Thanks, Guys! However for the remaining training period I will use the ~145 bpm as a cut off for effort – at 155 bpm pace it seemed like a lot more effort so it makes me worried about overtraining. But I can use the higher cut off as a guide to effort while hiking up to high camp. Hope this seems reasonable?