Hello Uphill Athlete Team,
I bought both the Kindle and audio books of Training for the Uphill Athlete. I listened to the book 5 or 6 times and I’m currently going over the Kindle version and taking notes. The book is great and seems to be based on solid exercise science. I also purchased Mike Foote’s Big Vert training plan.
Before moving onto my question, let me provide some background information about myself. I started trail running in 2017. I am now focusing on long distances from 80km and above. In 2019 and 2020 I averaged 3000km and 350 hours per year. While 2019 was a good year in terms of my performances (I took top 5 spots in two races in my country – 140 and 160km with more than 6000m D+), I felt I could do better in terms of average speed throughout. I am now preparing for the same races and a couple more. I have about 1100km and 107 hours of training in my legs for 2021. I started the Big Vert training plan 1 month ago. I’ve been doing roughly the same distance and time per week since December 2020 so you could say that I’ve been doing base training for 4 months now, albeit without much progression to be honest. My AeT (144bpm) and LT (169bpm) treadmill results indicated that I have ADS as there’s a ~15% gap.
What bothers me is that I have become sluggish and slow. I keep doing all my daily runs at about 5:30min/km and don’t seem to be making any progress. My breathing becomes more labored even on slight climbs so I decrease my pace in order to stay within zone 2. I did 5 x 3 minutes of VO2Max (Z4) intervals the other day and although it was hard, I did feel my breathing more composed on the next day although my back thighs felt a bit tired. I can say from previous experience that such bouts of Z3/Z4 intervals have improved my leg turnover and made my breathing. I am starting to think that I don’t respond well to too much base training and I need to apply a very different approach like training the least specific systems furthest from the race first , i.e. VO2Max > tempo runs > long slow distance. My reasoning is that I may not be responding so well to slow runs and I need the leg turnover and cardiovascular load in order to improve. Let’s say I put in 3-4 weeks of Z4 training once a week, then some Z3 once or twice a week. This would make me faster on my slow runs and allow me to sustainably push a faster pace and stay in Z1/Z2.
Does this make sense and am I missing something about the base phase? I’m willing to book an hour over the phone with a coach if needed so we can adjust the plan if needed.