Z3 Yes, no, maybe

  • Creator
  • #44555

    I’m 57 and new to official training but not new to hiking or fitness. I think I’ve been over researching and have throughly confused myself

    Based on the self tests AeT 150 AnT 165 so I believe that meets your threshold for Z3

    However in the 24 week program there is no high intensity work until week 9, wouldn’t I want to do some z3 from week one?

    According to Fast after 50, I should always be doing Z3 and other endurance training plans also emphasize the need for Z3 so I’m unsure how to reconcile the conflicting info.

    Would appreciate your insights.


  • Participant
    briguy on #44564

    Joe Friel’s work is definitely not going to jive with the UA methodology. Friel’s Fast after 50 has its central tenet that HIIT is required for the aging athlete, you won’t find that in UA plans until later in each training cycle.

    These are competing methodologies, you have to choose one and experiment. UA is more Maffetone related with “low hanging fruit” being the terrible base aerobic conditioning we all have which can be improved with mostly Z1/Z2 work. Once that is accomplished, you layer onto some more higher zone work to fine tune your fitness.

    Anonymous on #44579

    If you are showing an AeT of 10% or less then yes you might benefit from adding some Z3 work into your weeks even in the early stages. 95+% of folks who start these plans have ADS and only need to work on aerobic base before adding intensity. Hence the heavy emphasis in Z2 for them. However in a sport like mountaineering where the intensity of the event is quite low, but very long, the aerobic base is way more important than the high end. That’s why you will be transitioning to ME workouts later in the plan. That is the event specific endurance work for mountaineering….grinding slowly uphill with a heavy pack, as opposed to running fast. So, a runner will need more conventional HIIT in their program if they have no ADS.

    Try adding one Z3 session/week to replace one of the aerobic base sessions. Do this gradually to assess your work capacity for this harder work. Start with 20-30 min in the first 2 weeks and see you handle it. When you do this drop all base training sessions to Z1 for a while to see how your recovery goes. If after a couple of weeks you are handling the load (without increasing Z3 volume) well enough then replace just 1 of the Z2 sessions. No more than 1 hour/week in Z2 when you do this.

    I hope this helps,

    Anonymous on #44624

    You’ve got the when, now the how. In addition to what Scott said, there’s more info here:

    When and How to Add High-Intensity Training: The 10 Percent Test

    rich.b on #44683

    Scott and Scott have given specific responses, but it is useful to comment on Friel’s Fast After 50. As with Uphill Athlete, who emphasize having a foundation first, Friel makes clear the assumption that the reader already trains, has trained for a long time, and understands structured training. That is, they already have the foundation. The key point he is making that for many ageing athletes declines in observed/experienced performance are not all age related, and that some of that decline is the result of a gradual retreat to comfort-zone training and avoidance of the harder workouts. This includes both the interval work and the strength work in the gym. Those that maintain volume and quality of training see slower age-related declines than those who maybe retain volume but cease the harder workouts.
    Scott and Steve touched on much of this in their recent podcast on the ageing endurance athlete (consistency, strength work, don’t stop – amongst other rules). Getting back to Friel, he is advocating that ageing athletes need to re-introduce intensity into their training if competitive performance is the goal; this is, proper interval training as also discussed in Uphill Athlete, where the duration of those intervals vary according to event duration. If I remember correctly this was ?10% of training, or thereabouts. Friel cites many of the same studies and training principles as TfUA, such as the research from Norwegian groups. And as Scott wrote above, introduce them gradually, as well as don’t get injured (rule #2?). And enjoy the process.

    derekosborne22 on #44706

    I’m with Rich.b on this. I also have Friel’s “Fast After 50” and the hint is in the title FAST. My interpretation of his book and protocols are very much aimed at the competitive athlete who wishes to retain competitiveness after they are 50. Uphill Athlete, as Scott J says, is very much based at mountaineering in it’s broadest sense and hence the protocols have a different focus as the “events” have different needs. Specificity is driving the two different protocols – neither is wrong as long as you apply to the right events.

    On a personal front, whilst I’m not and never have been a competitive athlete I do have two slightly competing “events” – mountaineering in all it’s guises, and road cycling. Hence I mix protocols: Autumn/Winter and into Spring is almost entirely Z1/Z2 and ME sessions as that is my prime mountaineering time. Come the Spring/Summer, the road bike comes out and I need to add tempo sessions in Z3/Z4 – although I still maintain a couple of Z1/Z2 sessions a week – and there is the occasional flat out “time trial” ride. I’m about to start the change back to mountaineering and as the gyms have opened back up will be able to do the first AeT test since January – it will be very interesting to see where this sits – I certainly feel fitter and stronger than I did six months ago as evidenced by longer and faster rides than ever. We’ll find out soon what the numbers say 🙂

    Reed on #44711

    There are a few related comments in this thread: https://uphillathlete.com/forums/topic/more-focus-on-higher-intesity-for-aging-athletes/

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