Based on that drift test, it’s a good guess that your AeT is a in the mid-to-high 150s. The leg fatigue points to muscular strength being your performance limiter – at least on the track. If you haven’t already, I’d strongly recommend starting the gym based Muscular Endurance routine. It will allow you continue that continuous muscular output which you metabolically appear able to sustain.
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It’s common to need to slow to a hike on uphills to keep efforts under AeT. The one piece of feedback I would offer is to feel free to spend time in Z2. The guidance to avoid Z2 is when working in that zone places too high a strain on the musculoskeletal system.
I was in a similar boat to you two years ago. My AeT was in the mid 150s and it felt slow to stay there. However, things have changed enormously since then. My AeT now sits in the low-to-mid 160s and I now train primarily (around 85% of my time) in Z1 (mid to high 140s) because Z2 is tough on my body and can lead to overuse injuries.
You’re doing things right. I would encourage you to stick with it! Use your AeT as a cap for your training but don’t worry too much about the Z1 vs Z2 differentiation. As you get more fit, you’ll realize Z2 requires too much effort and your training load will shift to Z1. Then you will be able to put in longer and longer Z3 and Z4 sessions and your progress will be rapid.
For the Muscular Endurance workouts, you should not be going into Z3. If you do that, the demands placed on your metabolic system are counterproductive to your efforts to improve your Aerobic Threshold (AeT) and address ADS. All of your effort should be Z1/2 at this point.
If you’re dedicated to sticking with the hill carries, I would use whatever weight you can with keeping your HR in Z1. The ME workouts are deceptive in that they don’t feel particularly tough in the moment, but the repetitive stress on isolated muscle groups has a strong effect.
The other option is to try to the Gym ME workout ( https://uphillathlete.com/at-home-muscular-endurance-workout-with-progression/ ). This will keep your HR lower and really hit those target muscle groups. I get that it’s less attractive because it’s inside, but trust me – it is effective.
I hope this is helpful!
Thanks all for the response.
My cadence generally runs in the 175-180 range, so that’s about right. After speaking with a PT who I ran into fortuitously and a little additional reading, I think I was over extending with my stride marginally and not engaging my hips enough, which put a lot more strain on my hamstrings.
Since being aware of that and actively working to engage my hips I’ve noticed significant relief. Hopefully it continues!
I am deferring to the Scotts, Steve, and company for the physiological question, but I wanted to chime in about similar issues I’ve had with the Suunto HR strap. I’ve used Polar models for years with consistent readings so I have a pretty good idea about what my HR feels like various levels of exertion. I used the Suunto strap after getting a Spartan watch but into a few months of use I got extremely erratic readings. I got in touch with their customer services folks but the problems persisted.
Ultimately, I switched back to a Polar strap because of the reliability.
In any case, good luck!
During the first 4 miles I felt sluggish but didn’t feel fatigue in my legs. Over the last 4 miles things felt much better, even though the metrics looked fairly similar.
I’ll plan to test HR Drift, finding some flat ground to keep things even.
Thanks Scott. I hugely appreciate the resources you, Steve, and company provide; it’s a wonderful resource.