Dear Uphill Athletes,
Since discovering Uphill Athlete two years ago, I have been a patient and cautious student of your training principles. I have found mountains of motivations and plains of wisdom in TftUA and frequently refer to it for guidance.
I am a 26-year-old male, who’s been running fairly consistently for three years (and skiing in winter). My main goal has been to increase my capacity for higher training volumes, and I am now comfortable with an average of around 6 hours per week (including an hour of roller skiing as cross-training). I have been conservative with regards to aerobic training and gone with the assumption that I haven’t been ready for intensity training. I started opening that door only this summer, by routinely adding intensity work.
Preparing for respectively one B, C, and A priority race this Autumn, I have had 7 weeks with ~10% of weekly volume as AeT/Z3 intervals (exclusively uphill, and some sessions averaging 30% steepness for ME). During spring and summer, my exercise was only sporadically in Z3.
This week, I finally got around to testing my AeT, and got the following from a lab lactate test (5 min bouts, 5% incline, speed in km/h):
# | Speed | Lactate | HR
1 | 7 | 1,0 | 146
2 | 7,5 | 1,2 | 146
3 | 8 | 1,1 | 150
4 | 8,5 | 1,1 | 154
5 | 9 | 1,1 | 158
6 | 9,5 | 1,2 | 161
7 | 10 | 1,6 | 166
8 | 10,5 | 1,6 | 170
9 | 11 | 2,2 | 171
10 | 11,5 | 3,3 | 176
(Also see graphs as attachments.)
I interpret this as an AeT at HR 171 and AnT at HR 176. The AnT also fits with previous field tests. Notably, this gives me a 3% gap for the 10 Percent Test! A pleasant surprise, indeed, but puts me in uncharted territory.
Before this test, I exercised under the assumption that I fulfilled the 10% test exactly: AnT 175 and AeT 157. In other words, I mostly exercised at a Z1 range of HR 125-141.
With the new AeT, my Z1 is now defined as HR 136-154. I’ve been exercising in this zone now for some days, and it is clearly more taxing.
First round of questions, regarding my “sudden jump” in Z1 intensity:
1. How should I transition from the previous Z1 intensity to the new one, without saddling the over-training elephant with a sudden jump in aerobic intensity?
My A-priority race is coming up in four weeks, where I aim for a finishing time of ~4 hours. The terrain is both very steep and very flat. In light of this, and considering the small AeT-AnT gap, and being comfortable with my current volume of 10% of Z3, I plan to add more intensity training. Firstly, I plan to experiment with Z4 intervals following the “1:2-minute rule” of Z3 and Z4 intensity.
However, I am also tempted to cash in more of my seemingly large aerobic base for an increased overall volume of intensity training for the next 2-3 weeks, before tapering before the race. In four weeks, after the race, I would go back to base-building for the winter.
Second round of questions, regarding more intensity:
2. Will an increase in intensity past 10% of training volume cause a decrease in my AeT, and/or increase my AnT?
3. Can I indeed get a boost towards my race in four weeks by going up to, for example, 15% intensity (e.g. 10% Z3, 5% Z4), or is this just foolery?
My short-term priority is to get ready for the race. But from this post, I would also love general insights that I can bring into the next training cycle. After all, I am in it for the long run! 😉
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