Training for my second season

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  • #62778

    Hi all,

    Happy first day of February! This is my first post on the forum. I completed my first marathon (on road, pretty flat) and first ultra (60k trail with 1400m gain) here in Ireland last year, though I’ve always been fond of long day hikes and multi day backpacking trips. I bought TFTUA while I was resting from the ultra in October and read it from cover to cover, and learned so much.

    When I tried to return to normal training about six weeks after the ultra, I found that my first “long” runs (so only 10km or so) were leaving me very very tired after, and I was worried I might not have recovered fully from the ultra, so I eased off for another month and then started a slow return to training. It’s been going well so far, and in hindsight I wonder if maybe that extra tiredness I felt was just my body getting used to training again. But I’m still taking it slow.

    Anyway, I have two main event goals for the year, and I wanted to ask a bit of advice. In fact neither are really events per se, more just routes I want to do myself, or with my partner, who did all the big runs last year with me.

    ROUTE 1 is a 70km looped trail on hilly terrain with 1800m of elevation gain
    ROUTE 2 is a 24km off-trail route through the mountains with 2400m of elevation gain

    Now, Route 2 might look a lot shorter but the terrain is fairly brutal and some of the climbs are super steep.

    I had been thinking of doing Route 2 first, because it’s shorter, in the build up to doing Route 1. But I actually think because of all the steep climbing on tough terrain, training for Route 2 on similar terrain is more likely to take me above my AeT a lot more.

    I have done two heart rate drift tests so far. The first was at 130 bpm and that produced a drift of 1.7%, so I was going too slow. I jacked it up to 140 bpm the next time, as that is closer to conversational running pace for me, and I got a drift of 3.5%. So I’ve been using 140 bpm as my AeT (I’m using a chest strap).

    I find that hiking steeply uphill will take me over this, particularly on the uneven off-trail terrain of most Irish mountains, unless I make a conscious effort to slow down.

    So I want to make out a training plan for the year, and I’m thinking it might be better to do Route 1 first to help with base building, as training for it will involve easier terrain, less steep climbing, and more time under AeT (in theory).

    Anyway, I have a few short questions.

    1. Is my theory about doing Route 1 first sound?
    2. Any suggestions on how to space out these events – my current thinking is to do ROUTE 1, then chill for a few weeks, then a few weeks of focus on elevation gain and the more challenging mountain terrain, before attempting ROUTE 2 – but I don’t have much experience of managing multiple events in one season
    3. Given my drift test produced a result of 3.5% at 140bpm, can I safely assume my AeT is a bit higher than that, or should I stick with 140 until I do another test?

    Thanks a mil for reading,


  • Participant
    lennyantonelli on #62779

    Oh, I suppose I should also state, in case it’s relevant, that I’m a 35 year old male!

    Garret on #62819

    My understanding is its better to be conservative with AeT estimates.

    As in, it’ll be better for your aerbobic base by running at or below your real AeT than above it.
    So I’d keep to 140 or less until I did another test.
    Why not try at test at 150, it sounds like 140 wasn’t too stressful.

    My experience has been that as my AeT got closer to AnT (now less that 10% difference) the perceived effort at AeT has got much harder.

    Nice to see anyother Irish based uphill athlete here !
    – Garret

    lennyantonelli on #62823

    Hi Garret, thanks for that! Yeah I’m kinda trying to keep it below 142 or 143 bpm generally right now.

    Am I right that I can push up to 4.9% drift or thereabouts for my AeT?


    Garret on #62828

    Yes, under 5% is what’s suggested.

    As with any test the result is an estiamte. Doing the same test on a different day you’ll probably get a slightly different result. That’s why frequent tests are suggested – with more tests you’ll get a better estimate.

    If you want to build aerobic base then keep HR under AeT – so if you’re going over AeT on the steeper hills and rougher ground that means you should slow down to get the aerboic base building benefit.

    On the two events, it seems they could be quite different. The longer one will require faster running on the flat over a better surface, the shorter will require faster climbing at slower pace on poor surface ?

    If one of these events is more important to you than the other then get as much of your training in on ground that matches the more important one.

    If they are well spaced apart you could consider doing specific training in the lead up to the first one and then once that’s over do specific training for the second one.

    – Garret

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