What’s my problem

  • Creator
  • #60793

    I have been training (triathlons at first, now mountaineering for the past two years) for around eight years in general, but only the past year did I begin using the principles lined out in TFtNA. I’m new to the program’s ideas, but not new to training. However, it wasn’t until October that I completely changed everything and since then have done nothing above my AeT, which I realized was quite a bit lower than I expected, so I’m definitely in ADS territory.

    My typical week is about six hours of training: three runs of about an hour each, a couple 45 minute bike rides, and a couple weight sessions at home totaling about 90 minutes. What has really begun to frustrate me is that since that time (start of October), I have slowed and become less efficient in my runs and rides.

    How typical is this? Granted, I’m only coming up on three months of exclusively below AeT workouts, but I would expect to stay the same or slightly improve. I seem to be going in the opposite direction. My rides are losing power at the same heart rate, and my runs are going from an EF in Training Peaks of, say 1.12, to 1.07 or even recently a 1.00 on the exact same route.

    Am I doing something wrong?

  • Participant
    willplayforfood on #60797

    Just another member so take this with a grain of salt but it feels like more information might be needed.

    1) How did you establish your AeT?
    2) Have you done retests along the way/recently and do you see any progress there?

    Comparing performance at AeT over time would be what I would use to judge progress.

    My mental picture of this is that your previous fitness developed a high degree of fitness above AeT over the course of years so you had developed some degree of efficiency when operating in that zone, but you only have a couple months focusing on similar development of AeT which might unsurprisingly be less efficient.

    For me this is why I found the combo of regular (once every 2-3 months) AeT and AnT tests really useful. What I observed personally when shifting to an AeT focused approach was a slow but steady improvement for AeT pace/HR and an initial drop in AnT followed by improvements of pace/HR at AnT in the mid/long term. If I remember correctly I returned to similar pace/HR for my AnT tests around the 4-6 month mark and saw notable improvements closer to the 9 month mark.

    rcj on #60801

    Thanks very much for the response.

    It has been a few years since I lab tested my heart rate zones, and I don’t have access to a treadmill to do the drift test, but I am going off of the general MAF calculation backed up by using an app that measures DFA Alpha 1. I now it’s not exact, but I think I’m close enough to agree that staying under the heart rate that I came up with using this should be a good start. I plan to measure again in the next few months.

    I think you’re probably right that I had a higher efficiency at higher heart rates due to previous training. What’s frustrating is that my efficiency has gone down and seems to be steadily declining right now when training right at that AeT heart rate. It sounds like that is maybe normal? Since this change in October, I haven’t even thought about AnT, nor measured anything with regard to it, since I am focusing on staying under AeT at all times to build that base.

    Should I change up the routine, or is this a “stick to it and it’ll improve” situation? I guess I really just don’t understand how I could be getting worse at this lower heart rate level while only working within it.

    MarkPostle on #60802

    A couple of things to think about which may help. Firstly I would do a drift test to check your AeT estimation from the MAF formula. If you’re a runner you could do it on a local track since you don’t have treadmill access. That would at least eliminate one possible problem if the Drift test AeT and the MAF estimation are close. Another thing that jumps to mind is how quickly you respond to the training stimuli vs your training volume. If I am reading correctly you are doing 4+ hours of total sub AeT work per week. At this volume I would expect to not see very dramatic changes until 3-6 months of consistent training and quite possibly longer if you happen to be someone who doesn’t respond particularly quickly, were all a bit different in that regard. FWIW I have seen a fairly big difference in rate of initial improvement between those athletes doing 4-6 hours per week and those in the 10-12 range. I totally understand not everyone has the time/need/desire to put in the higher volumes but the lower volume training needs to come with the realization that the adaptations will take more time.

    brianbauer on #60805

    I have read that the effects of MaF often take 6 months, which can feel excruciatingly long. also, I believe the UA book has a story about a nordic skier who was doing huge volumes of high intensity work but had plateaued in speed. it took a longish period of low intensity to reset and ultimately become faster at high intensity.

    rcj on #60811

    Thanks Mark and Brian. I too have read that six months is what to expect for improvement, but I was concerned about the backsliding and wanted to make sure to intervene early if I could. If this is really a normal course that I’m dealing with, then I can live with it and keep chugging along.

    brianbauer on #60867

    my own personal observations over the last 12-18 months tell me that building a really solid aerobic base takes months and months, but once you have done that, the benefits of increased aerobic intensity, LT etc, can be achieved in weeks.

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