Small AeT-AnT gap: Adapting to new intensity zones & Cash in for intensity?

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  • #57336

    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! 😉

    ? Amund

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    Anonymous on #57346


    It sounds like you’ve really made good progress with your aerobic base. You are correct to have been adding more intensity. The best rule of thumb I can give for adding intensity is: Add intensity volume until you feel like you need to reduce the Z1 volume because of poor recovery. If Z1 is feeling too taxing you must reduce the intensity of those sessions so that the high intensity session are not negatively impacted.

    I agree with your assessment of AeT in the low 160s.


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