When we have to stop training…

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  • #13424

    Consistent base training for 6 months- did not miss a single workout. I made huge gains in uphill speed from the high volume program. All of the sudden after stupidly deciding to wear new shoes on a Rainier speed solo ascent, destroyed my heels with giant blisters and was forced to take 9 days off. 2nd day back training, and holy cow I lost a lot of fitness!

    Three primary training adaptations- aerobic enzymes, capillary density increases, and mitochondrial mass development, right? In TFTNA, we learned that aerobic enzymes drop rapidly starting pretty much immediately. That plot of cytochrome C drops off at a scary fast rate. Do we know what the drop off rates for the other adaptations are when you go from big training volume to sedentary?

    Im wagering a guess that my big drop in uphill speed for mid Zone 2 HR effort (been tested, know AeT HR) after being sedentary for nine days mostly comes from a drop in aerobic enzymes? Am I right in that? How much could drop in fitness be due to loss of mitochondrial mass or capillary density?

    How long to get back to where I was in terms of adaptation progress? Looking for anecdotal experience perhaps, but my sure someone is gonna say “well that depends”.

    My come-back plan is to basically use the 1 day easy/short training per training day missed progressing to longer and higher HRs within aerobic zone. Basically planning to revert back to the previous mesocycle. 9 days of being sedentary will essentially have cost me a month of training in terms of progression of volume. Does this sound reasonable? Does my plan sound okay, or might it be too conservative?

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    Anonymous on #13436


    Do not despair. This happens when you get sick or injured and is a very temporary condition. You’re right that your temporary loss of fitness is due to the functional changes, mostly enzymatic and mitochondrial volume drop. Your right that you need to restore the lost basic aerobic capacity before expecting to feel like your old self and before introducing any intensity. My rule of thumb is that you do one day of low intensity Z1-2 for each day you missed. If you follow that rule I’ll be that after 7-8 days you’ll feel start feeling good again. Then you’ll need to address the loss in endurance by focusing on some higher intensity workouts as those will not have had 2+ weeks without any stimulus. But those too are mostly enzymatic and come back pretty fast.


    Vertical Runner on #13442


    Allow me to jump in and ask a question.
    Considering the drops in adaptations and fitness after reducing volume, will a maintenance week leading to a vertical race avoid most of these significant losses of fitness? And should I keep doing some fasted runs during that same week?


    mountain_stoke on #13469

    Scott, thank you!!

    Vertical Runner: a lot coaches say for a two week taper preceding an ultra event it is good to keep training same format but drop volume 15% first week and another 15 % second week. For a shorter event I would imagine such a long taper would be unececcary. The pros should weigh in here, but I would think for a vertica k race , a one week taper with 30% drop in volume would be good, like a consolidation week. I don’t know shorter distance stuff though.

    Anonymous on #13476

    @Vertical Runner
    There is no one tapper method that works for everyone. FT (fast twitch) athletes tend to do best on a big drop in volume with a bump in intensity. ST athletes seem to do better with higher volume tapers. Luke Nelson, a decidedly ST guy I coach, who just finished 8th in the 205 mile (with about 85,000 vertical feet) Tor de Geant in Italy used a 3 week long taper as he was coming off a high training load and we wanted to be sure he was well rested. Over rest/taper and you can feel flat and sluggish. Under tapper and you’ll have heavy legs in the race.
    You have to try different tapers and see what works best for you.

    Soem rules:
    Keep some intensity even in a big taper. I usually drop 50% volume each week of a 2 week taper. Only use this long taper for long races or multiple races in a short time frame. Do not try to set a PR in any workouts in the taper period.


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