Hi Scott! I hope others will chime in too, but I wanted to give my two cents as well. Congrats on the good work you’ve been putting in so far. My first thought is that it’s probably time to test your AeT again. Since you switched sports, you already had a really good aerobic base, but not the movement efficiency with running that you did with biking. After all the running you’ve been doing, you’ve no doubt become more efficient with running, and your aerobic threshold could be higher now. My other thought is that it’s totally normal! My own personal experience is that I’ve been running ultras for over 15 years now and there are still times that I have to hike to keep my heart rate low, especially if I’ve been running several days in a row and have fatigue in my legs. I’d be curious to know if you feel good the following day, ie. can run more at AeT. I’ve found both with my own training and many athletes I coach that the day that’s hard to keep under AeT helps you keep the effort easy enough to be a recovery workout and the following day feels great. Hopefully we can chat soon to put together the next phase, based on how everything’s been going for you. I hope this helps!
The title is slightly in jest, but I am indeed having quite a bit of frustration and want to understand more why I am observing strange (to me) effects while training.
Quick Background: I am switching modes to mountain running for a big adventure in 2020. For the past year I have only been a casual trail runner as slight cross training for my focus which has been ultra mountain bike racing. I have been ultra bike training and racing for the past 6 years.
To support this, I have been following a custom training plan created by Alison Naney. I am on week 6 of 8 weeks of base AeT training. I am fully committed to the concept to the patience phase of building my base AeT and running slow to not get above threshold and subsequently walking to force my heart rate down within the aerobic zone.
However….. It has been really frustrating and seemingly random that on some morning AeT run workouts which last 1h, I end up having to walk many many times to keep the heart rate in check. Whereas, other days, I have no problem keeping the heart rate where it needs to be.
It seems that about 1 in 3 runs this happens: About 20-30min in, my heart rate will quickly spike up about 10 beats/min higher than threshold. My alarm goes off and I try to “run” as slowly as possible, and that always results in a walk. After about 10-15 sec of walking my heart rate is lower than threshold and then I start to run again. Within a few seconds I am back up to 10 beats higher. It spikes. I then have to walk again. I may do this 10 to 15 times in a 1h session. My perceived effort is very low when my heart rate spikes, in fact, I am usually cooling off or getting cold when this slow and would prefer to run than walk. It’s like all of a sudden my heart rate just wants to jump above threshold and I have to beat it down by walking to prevent it occurring.
The thing is I don’t know how to prevent this. I don’t know what prompts it to happen on some runs but not others. It feels so frustrating when it happens that I am usually cursing out loud that I have to stop and walk. I think the main frustration is that I feel like I should be training myself to prevent this but I don’t know how. Since it seems to be consistently random over these 6 weeks, it feels like I am not progressing in that way. (I do feel improvement in my fatigue while running for long duration though).
Is this a normal issue that will dissipate as I build a better base?
Do I get the most benefit out of the training by strictly forcing myself to drop back below threshold every time my heart rate spikes?
One other tangent question about running in the aerobic and anaerobic zones. If say I am running along at AeT and then all of a sudden I start running in an intentional way to get my heart rate up into the anaerobic zone, does the aerobic process of generating energy switch off? ie do I ultimately switch over to the anaerobic mechanism only, or do both mechanisms work at the same time? In other words, am I throwing away aerobic power and relying only on anaerobic power (which is time limited) when I cross that threshold?
I would love your thoughts and help. Thanks!
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