Questions around hill bounding, muscular endurance and Vo2 max hill reps

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  • #36202

    Swampi
    Participant

    Firstly, I would like to say thank you for so many brilliant resources on this website. I bought your TFTUA earlier this year and it has deepened my understanding of training significantly. Leading to the realisation that my years of polarised training previously were in fact endless utilisation training – with my weekly Z4 reps and back-to-back long Z1/Z2 mountain runs.

    My goal this year is to complete a mountain running challenge of around 100km and 9000m ascent in September, which has to be completed within 24hrs to be considered successful. Previously I have completed events of around 55km and 5000m ascent.

    With the above in mind, I am currently building my aerobic capacity doing around 10hrs of Z1/Z2 a week and increasing, plus two sessions of explosive hill bounding for anaerobic and strength capacity. Although my AeT isn’t too far off 10% from my AnT, I plan to continue building my capacity until the start of April or May when I then intend to introduce ME training by doing long reps up a very steep hill near my home. Starting with one ME and one hill bounding per week, then building to two ME sessions a week by the end of June. Of course this will all be complimented with a dozen plus hours of aerobic capacity training.

    My first question is whether it is appropriate to begin these ME sessions with say six reps of hill bounding followed by the long ME reps? Allowing me to maintain that anaerobic and strength capacity.

    Two months out I want to begin my utilisation training by incrementally replacing these ME hill reps with Z4 hill reps throughout July. Followed by the final month of August consisting of long back-to-back Z1 mountain runs with one session of Z4 hill reps – plus other Z1 runs of course to bring the volume to near twenty hours by then.

    My second question is whether there is a need for Z4 reps given the length of my goal? Many of the uphills are steep and will be power hiked, so I am wondering whether to just continue with ME reps.

    Any advice would be much appreciated!

Posted In: Mountain Running


  • Keymaster
    Scott Semple on #36250

    Good plan!

    My first question is whether it is appropriate to begin these ME sessions with say six reps of hill bounding followed by the long ME reps? Allowing me to maintain that anaerobic and strength capacity.

    Do you mean combining the bounding into the ME session? I don’t think you’ll need to.

    The long, heavy ME carries are what we normally prescribe for mountaineers in their specific phase. For skimo and trail running, that cadence is too slow and the periodization is not ideal. Instead, we use our gym-based ME protocol and schedule it early in the macrocycle. It’ll be perfect timing if you add the Runner ME right after your hill-bounding series.

    My second question is whether there is a need for Z4 reps given the length of my goal? Many of the uphills are steep and will be power hiked, so I am wondering whether to just continue with ME reps.

    Instead, progress the Z4 into longer intervals of Zone 3. This “inverted intensity” (Sprints -> ME -> Z4 -> Z3) approach can work really well but you have to be careful. You must maintain your easy volume throughout. If you don’t then the high-intensity will erode your base and make you slower rather than faster.

    Also, if the race is steep then the training should be steep. Rather than do fast running Z3 & 4, do the intensity in steep terrain as Z3 & 4 speed-hiking.

    Lastly, 9,000m is a lot. You’ll need to strengthen your legs for the descents. Make sure that’s part of your plan. A progressive series of short descents with some speed is a good approach, but again, don’t over-do it. The eccentric loading when going downhill can really trash your thighs.


    Participant
    Swampi on #36273

    Thanks for the reply Scott!

    Do you mean combining the bounding into the ME session?

    Yes, my thinking was that if I build to two ME sessions per week, then it wouldn’t be possible to continue with an additional hill bounding session due not giving sufficient recovery time i.e. 72 hours between the three hard sessions.

    Just to clarify, should I discontinue with the hill bounding once I am in the two ME sessions per week phase?

    The long, heavy ME carries are what we normally prescribe for mountaineers in their specific phase.

    Rather than these, I was thinking to run up a 60% slope of about 200m ascent near my home, which takes me about 10 minutes at slow ME jog. Repeating around four times and adding a little weight, but still running, as I progress.

    Would you recommend the gym based ME session over these?

    Lastly, 9,000m is a lot. You’ll need to strengthen your legs for the descents.

    Ohhh I know! 🙂


    Participant
    l.tregan on #36294

    Leading to the realisation that my years of polarised training previously were in fact endless utilisation training – with my weekly Z4 reps and back-to-back long Z1/Z2 mountain runs.

    Just for me to understand: how was that utilisation training ?

    In the new plan, I see you have the 10h Z1/Z2 like in the old plan (“Back-to-back long Z1/Z2 mountain run”). Then Z4 reps are replaced by Z3 ME, is it what makes the difference ?


    Participant
    Swampi on #36295

    The difference is that I was doing the Z4 and back-to-back long Z1/Z2 right from the very start. Two Z4s a week and two big Z1/Z2s in the mountains for a dozen months before a goal.

    My understanding from reading TFTUA is that I need to do base training consisting of shorter and daily Z1/Z2 runs for aerobic capacity building with hill bounding and eventually muscular endurance for strength capacity. Once I’ve done that for several months I can then put two months of the above Z4s and Z1 back-to-backs on top of that and I will see MUCH bigger gains.

    Hopefully that’s correct?


    Keymaster
    Scott Semple on #36311

    Just to clarify, should I discontinue the hill bounding once I am in the two ME sessions per week phase?

    Yes, I don’t think that you need both at the same time.

    …60% slope of about 200m ascent near my home, which takes me about 10 minutes at slow ME jog. Repeating around four times and adding a little weight, but still running, as I progress.

    The idea with ME work is to overload the muscles with weight rather than speed. That can be done with our gym-based jumping protocol (to keep the cadence higher and more specific to running and skimo) or with a heavy backpack (to use heavier weights and a slower cadence to be specific to mountaineering).

    Choose whichever one you think would be more specific to your event. A quick way to do this is go for a short run at what you think your pace will be in the event. Figure out what your cadence (steps per minute) is at that pace. Then choose whichever ME protocol works with that cadence.

    The difference is that I was doing the Z4 and back-to-back long Z1/Z2 right from the very start. Two Z4s a week and two big Z1/Z2s in the mountains for a dozen months before a goal.

    Once an athlete has a good base to work from, then it’s possible to train all intensities whenever required. The balancing act comes from choosing what’s the priority. And at all times, aerobic capacity (Z2 training and below) must be maintained or increased at the same time.


    Participant
    Swampi on #36359

    Thanks Scott. Some great advice there.


    Participant
    Swampi on #39861

    So I stuck to the plan detailed above of daily Z1/2 runs and one/twice per week max strength sessions. I’ve got to say I’ve seen some great gains with this and roughly estimate my flat AeT pace to of dropped from around 7:30min per mile to about 6:20min per mile.

    My original plan was to start introducing ME sessions in the next few weeks, then building to a final two months of Z4 reps followed by adding in long back-to-back runs. However, I doubt with the my country in Covid19 lockdown I’ll be attempting my run in August/September now.

    My question is whether there any issue with just continuously building my aerobic and strength capacity with these daily Z1/2 runs plus one/twice per week max strength sessions?

    My thinking is that I can then introduce the build phase once this Covid19 pandemic settles down. Hopefully starting my challenge even fitter!

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