Hey Scott, checking back in after completing the max strength portion of my base period. I followed the recommended training modes for an 8-week mountaineering plan (found on pg. 247 of Training for the New Alpinism). After confirming my AnT as 160 bpm, I kept all of my aerobic training in zones 1 and 2 (85-105 bpm). You can see the recorded weekly volume in the attached screenshot. Note that the “zone 1” column is really zones 1 and 2 combined since my AnT-AeT gap is more than 10%. I did not actively try to do zone 3 workouts, those were just the minutes that accumulated as a result of me temporarily going too fast during a zone 1-2 workout.
Now I am starting the muscular endurance period of my base training (planning for 12 weeks). The main recommendation from the book is to do water jug carries up a steep hill, so I tried my first one today. In order to keep my HR below my AeT, I had to go painstakingly slow. Completing 0.37 miles with 500 ft. of elevation gain took 32 minutes and required multiple complete pauses in order to keep my HR low enough. Based on the book’s recommendation to gradually increase weight over the course of 12 weeks, I started with only 10 L (22 lbs, ~10% bodyweight). I’ve hiked before with 20 L and I’m confident I could do 30+ L as well.
The problem is, even with a ton of extra weight I feel that my breathing and AeT are still going to be the limiting factor for speed, which is the opposite of what the book recommends – “if you are able to hike fast enough to get short of breath, you need to add more weight or pick a steeper hill”. At some point, more weight seeems to turn this into a strength workout rather than an endurance one. I also think the hill is pretty steep grade, and it happens to be close to my house with a source of water at the base. Do you think I will see improvement in my AeT pace if I continue hiking at such a slow pace, or should I consider an alternative workout for my muscular endurance base?
Thanks for the input!