Z3/Z4 intervals and downhills

  • Creator
    Topic
  • #35548
    nullkru
    Participant

    Hi UA crew,
    first: happy new year!

    I have a question about “harder” intervals. In the book you recommend. Doing the Z3 intervals on a similar terrain as my event. Which means it will include downhills.

    When i plan my Z3 intervals e.g. 2×15′ in this time i could include easy up-/downhill portions in my backyard. But if i keep my HR in Z3 during the downhills. This will be a suicidal pace. Which i think is too much pounding for the body to handle.
    Normally i did Z4 stuff only uphill and jogged down the hill for recovery.

    My questions/thoughts:
    – Should i do the Z3 intervals in the same manner as Z4?
    – Should i try to find a section where i can bypass the steeper/longer downhills?
    – Or do i just let my HR drop back to Z1/Z2 and then accelerate as soon as possible? (And maybe add some time to the rest of the remaining time. If this is necessary?)

    Thanks in advance!
    Have a great day — mirko

Posted In: Mountain Running

  • Keymaster
    Scott Semple on #35557

    …if I keep my HR in Z3 during the downhills. This will be a suicidal pace. Which I think is too much pounding for the body to handle.

    Yes, I agree. I wouldn’t go at Z3 on the descents. BUT… if you’re racing and the race will include downhill sections, then you want to train them, but probably not by HR. I would start with 6x 30″ “fast” with easy recoveries. You can then progress the workout with more or longer reps.

    I’ll also ask one of our coaches (Alison Naney) to comment. She actually likes running downhill (while I hate it…) 🙂

    Or do I just let my HR drop back to Z1/Z2 and then accelerate as soon as possible? (And maybe add some time to the rest of the remaining time. If this is necessary?)

    I much prefer doing all intensity above aerobic threshold on a treadmill by pace. I prefer the precision over the fresh air… 😉

    But! When I’ve done these types of workouts outside, I would do them on one long continuous hill, going up for the work period, and then trotting down for the recovery interval. So if the hill is long enough, you can go up and down in shorter sections without reaching the top before you’re done.

    Does that make sense?

    Participant
    nullkru on #35559

    Hi Scott this was fast!

    I’m training my downhill technique pretty often. In form of pickups, or if i’m feeling good just hammering down a longer trail section. Downhills shouldn’t be a weakness of mine at this point, i love them too ;)! But if i run in Z3 on a runnable not too techy and steep downhill of ca. 11-15% this would be a pace around 2:20-3/km

    
    I would do them on one long continuous hill, going up for the work period, and then trotting down for the recovery interval.
    

    This makes completely sense and is not a problem in my area. Maybe i will try to include some flat sections to get some speed back there too.
    Where do you see lack of precision when doing them outside?

    Thanks

    Keymaster
    Scott Semple on #35561

    I’ve done lots of treadmill training above aerobic threshold with different intensities varying in small increments between 100% and 130% of AeT pace. (130% is similar to a 4-minute time trial or “VO2” pace.)

    In all cases, I’m sure that there is a duration where heart rate would reflect the actual pace. But due to heart rate lag, it’s impossible to estimate the pace by using heart rate.

    For example, let’s say you wanted to do a workout with work periods at AnT and recovery intervals just under AeT with 6x 3′ work and 3′ recovery. On more than one athlete, the actual peak heart rates per set were:

    * AeT -10
    * AeT -5
    * AeT -5
    * AeT -5
    * AeT
    * AeT

    So although the load for each work interval was right at anaerobic threshold pace, the lag in heart rate was at or less than aerobic threshold. So when athletes are training by heart rate and targeting an anaerobic heart rate with short durations, the actual load must be much higher.

    Note: This would only apply to athletes with very small AnT/AeT spreads.

    Moderator
    Alison Naney on #35635

    Hi Mirko,
    I agree with you and Scott that it sounds like it’s too hard to maintain Z3 for downhill, given your technique and economy. Some people actually find their heart rate increases on the downs, so practicing it would be helpful for those folks. I tend to have no problem catching up to people on the downs after they’ve passed me on uphills, I spend my interval time working on the ups. On my normal training runs if I push it on the downhill I find that I have a pretty hard time going above my AeT, so I stick with that and will do very short intervals going faster than that, but more in a fartlek way, based on the terrain rather than a set time.

    Participant
    nullkru on #35637

    Thx Scott for clarifying this! This makes sense to me. Do you think you can wreck your training by going just by HR? For me it’s a welcome reflection of how hard i worked. My AeT/AnT spread is only about 10beats.

    Participant
    nullkru on #35638

    Hey Alison, nice to hear from you here 🙂 (i think i wrote with you about the Strava club)

    I can push pretty good in the downs but to be honest, i never tried how high it will rise if i give it “all out”. I hear from peoples that I’m a goat in the downhills. They feel easy for me. So i think we have a similar DH approach for training them.

    Thanks so much for your answer too!

    Keymaster
    Scott Semple on #35677

    I don’t think that you’ll wreck your training by going by heart rate. It’s only a question of how precise you want to be. The imprecision of heart rate is only at high intensity, and if your thresholds are close, then you must be doing a good amount of easy volume (which is more important).

    I first starting using treadmill intervals after reading a bunch about Roberto Canova’s training paces. I converted all of his paces to percentages of AeT and then did many of his workouts. That’s when I discovered that my heart rate had little in common with the intensity.

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