Skipping (Gym) ME and straight to Z3?

  • Creator
  • #82556

    Hi fellow uphill athletes,

    i was wondering if it would makes sense, due to previous training, to skipp the ME part in the late base training and move straight to implementing Z3 and later Z4 workouts?

    At the moment my sport if choice is SKIMO. Typicall week consits of 1 strenght training, 1 swim session and 3-4 Skimo sessions.

    Some data/facts about me:

    – 28 years
    – End of 2021 i had a surgery at my ancle an had to skip the whole skimo season.
    – 2022 first half i did a lot of swimming and cycling –> no weight bearing stuff.
    – Fall 2022 started with hiking again Z1/Z2, my legs were not used to it, but fitness was still there
    – Winter 2022: i was doing ONLY Z1/Z2 workouts, averaging 8-12 h per week over several months. 1 strenght workout (core focus) and 1 swim session per week was also done. At the beginning if the season i started with simple quite light weight training to get back my leg strenght, followed by about 4-5 ME gym style workouts and after that maybe ~5 Z3 workouts.
    In March 2023 i particpated in a 10h Skimo race, where the goal was to gain as much vertical as possible. I managed to do 6100 vm / 20000 ft in this time. avg. HR 155 over the 10 h. I did no all out, because i was unsure if i could do the 10 h.
    – Spring/Summer/Fall 2023 – again about 98 % of my training was Z2/Z1, gained a lot of speed in my low HR region. MTB, Race Bike, Trailrunning, Hiking… and also core/strenght training.
    – August 2023 i particapet in an 6 h uphill race, downhill was done by gondola. I was able to do 4×1000 vm / 3280 ft – each uphill part was about 70 min, followed by a 15 min transistion with the gondola, filling the drinks etc… In the Uphill was averaging an HR of 185 over the 4×70 mins.
    – Okt/Nov 2023 Training only in Z1/Z2 and with one strength session (Scotts Killer Core WO, leg training) and one swim session per week – Plus 3-4 weigh bearing stuff (running, trailrunning, skimo).
    – Now i am wondering if have done enough base over the last two years (of course, there is never enough) to skip the ME part an move straig to Z3 and later Z4 workouts, because i have nearly never trained above Ant?

    Regarding strength, i am doing Scoots Killer Core Workout since severall months and gained a lot. Most of the exercises on the “C” level, some on “D” and a few with the “B” level. Leg strenght is also quite ok (imo), for example currently i am doing 4×6 reps of step ups with 50 % of my BW.

    At the moment i have no valid data about my AeT/AnT. Except the two competitions with 155 over 10 h and 185 over the 4×70 mins. Could i use the as a rough orientation? But this would lead to an spread of 19 % … I did an lab test (on bike) back in Spring 2021, with the values 150/167 which was about 12 % and the reason for only training in Z1/Z2 BUT never retested it.

    Goals for the Season 23/24: Maybe a few vertical up to 1000 vm/ 3000 ft and participating in the 10 h race againg, long multi day traverse (10000 vm / 30000 ft over 5-6 days).

    I am not a skimo racer but i would like to gain some uphill speed. It feels, that i have a lot of pontential left if a work on HIT stuff, because if never done that that… Overall i like long things in the mountains, therefore i do not want to loose my base.

    What is your opinion about that? Further i am aiming to do an lab test (hiking/uphill running = most similar to skimo) as soon as possible.

    Greetings from Austria!

  • Participant
    svnt on #83170

    Have you considered doing a heart rate drift/AnT-test by yourself? I’ve done that a couple of times over the last year and I really enjoy possibility to retest for checking progress without spending the extra money of lab visits. Regardless of the method, those results should guide your is-this-base-big-enough question. Sounds to me, though, that you have enough endurance to be able to execute Zone3 and 4 sessions without problem, given your race/long uphill repeats this fall. That said, if you do haven’t planned any race in the nearest future and your goals are towards the longer side of the spectrum, I guess the benefit of ME would still be great. Maybe you can fit in some weeks of ME while waiting for a spot at a lab?

    Josh Gray on #83409

    I would recommend a ME block regardless. It’s literally a silver bullet for the mountains. Every time I’ve started a ME block (Gym or Water carries) I feel the uphill effects within 2-3 weeks. The improvements in lactate shuttle for zone 3 efforts are also a big part. You could possibly do the gym ME early in the week and include some Zone 3 mixed into one of your outdoor sessions later in the week.

    Josh Gray on #83410

    If you’ve never done the gym ME, start with 4×10 of the exercises and progress from there. You will be very sore for a day or 2 afterwards. Swimming is perfect recovery for the ME sessions.

    LuB on #83726

    Hi guys,
    thank you for your answers/opinions!

    Your are right, I should test AnT/AeT by myself. AnT/LT should by easy to determine. Regarding AeT, I will aim for the nose-breathing test, since I do my current training by SKIMO only. Running is at the moment no option due to snow/ice, maybe I can find a treadmill.

    @Josh Gray: In the last two years i have done 2 ME-cycles up to 8 weeks, i ended up with 6×10 & 10 kg additional weight. I have about 10 weeks until an 10 h competition (goal is do gain as much vertical as possible / SKIMO). I wonder if I should do just 8 weeks of ME followed by 2 weeks of tapering. Maybe without any Z3/Z4 but with a lot of Z1/Z2 training. Usually I do my strength work the day before my weekly swim training, which really works wonder on “destroyed” legs.

    Greetings, Lu

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