Weekly Increase when elevation varies dramatically

  • Creator
  • #58353

    I’m kicking off a long training plan and we are about to enter into the stormy late fall / winter season. Due to potential damage to local trails when we have heavy rains, on certain weeks I will have to run on the flats for my long run. However, my Z2 pace is pretty different on flats vs the trails (at an extreme it could vary from ~15min/miles to ~8min/miles) which means that on a 3 hour long run, the total distance could differ from 12 to 22 miles. This could result in big swings in my weekly mileage (if I focus on time run) or time on my feet (if I focus on mileage).

    In this example, what variable is most important to focus on when building effort? Time or distance? Should I run on the flats for 3 hours at Z2 or do 12 miles on the flats at Z2 (or something completely different)?

  • Participant
    Mariner_9 on #58368

    Hi goingup,

    This thread (https://uphillathlete.com/forums/topic/can-the-big-vert-training-plan-be-used-for-hiking-rather-than-running/) might be of use – note the comment from Scott S, “Focus on the duration prescribed rather than distance or gain”. Hiking rather than running would see a large decrease in speed, which seems similar to what you mention about running on flats rather than on trails with elevation gain.

    Aaron on #58374

    I agree that duration at equivelant rpe should be the goal, but only if that flat long run mileage is within your comfort zone for running impact/durability. Ie that running mileage might exceed your soft tissue readiness early in a training cycle. Totally depends on your history and body.

    goingup on #58435

    Aaron – you nailed my concern about soft tissue readiness. The 10% increase rule doesn’t magically offer protection from injuries but it’s a good baseline for adapting to hidden stressors that might not be obvious.
    I’ll aim for equivalent duration but I realize that I’ll likely have to reduce the duration of long flat runs at the same RPE because those long distances on flat pavement tend to beat me up more than similar duration / RPE on the trails. This will make my weekly progression metrics look a bit off but I’ll try to increase my duration a bit elsewhere during those weeks to balance things out.

    Aaron on #58450

    In most ways I enjoy the seasonality of climate and training cycles, but it is hard when you loose preferred trail /hill access. For some shoulder season periods I resort to using gravel road switchbacks up to our local ski hill for ski striding and downhill running prep. Our mtn bike club just had an annual leaf raking /blowing party to help maintain trail conditions.

    dcgm on #58512

    I wonder if mixing some easy sets of step-ups to park benches or whatever into your long runs on the flat would be a worthwhile option. More fun than a stairmaster, more elevation than a full-duration run on the flat, less impact than a full-duration run on the flat. A bit Jane Fonda but, hey, if it works….

Viewing 5 replies - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.