Loading Notifications...

Twight's heart rate alpintraining, ghetto edition

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.
 Stone Muppet 09 Apr 2020

What with it being crazy times I started running, not only that but decided to have a go at the suggested training in Extreme Alpinism. First off he says get your anaerobic threshold (AT) measured, it's a complicated expensive test, see if your medical insurance will pay. They weren't picking up the phone, maybe I should ask for my premium back? I bought a heart rate monitor and tried a few different homegrown methods from random websites:

1. "average heart rate from a 5k run". my 5k runs have hills in, heart rate all over the place, while anyone could compute an average I'm not sure this would be meaningful

2. "find the point when heavy breathing kicks in and I can't talk more than a few words together". cue lots of talking to myself alone in the woods! i can identify about 3 different breathing types for different levels of effort, but interestingly the point each of the harder ones kicks in could be anywhere in overlapping ranges of 149-159 or 155-163. so interesting to know that for running at least, my heart rate doesn't predict my breathing that well, or vice versa.

3. "look for an inflection point in the effort vs heart rate curve". even on a consistent gradient I can't create a smooth ramp up in effort (as measured by speed), the graph comes out as a bunch of steps. i guess people use treadmills for this stuff when they're not covered in bugs bugs bugs o_O

Having failed to determine my AT I tried the suggested endurance exercise of running at 97-99% of it for a good length of time. Assuming it's somewhere around 150, this is a permissible range of 3 beats per minute. I set up a beepy thing and found there is no flipping way I can keep my heart rate within so tight a range, I'm either above or below all the time. Turns out I don't naturally maintain constant effort so much as aim for constant speed, my tendency is to coast on the downhills and if it's going up then give it some, even if I'm consciously trying for constant effort.

Has anyone else tried this perversion? any advice? Tbh I think I prefer going for a run without gadgets but Twight has climbed harder alpine routes than I ever will so it's worth a shout...

Report
 nufkin 09 Apr 2020
In reply to Stone Muppet:

It's been a while since I read Extreme Alpinism (though I suppose what with all this free time I could go did it out), but I think the training regimes suggested in Steve House's book(s) seemed a little better explained - and possibly a bit more in line with current thinking. 

Training for the New Alpinism is probably the one to plump for, but Training for the Uphill Athlete is maybe better if you're especially serious about running, rather than just being generally fit

Report
 Stone Muppet 09 Apr 2020

I looked at some reviews of that, sounds like a 400 page textbook which tells you how to design a training regime rather than suggesting any specific program though - I'm kinda looking for the TLDR recipe...

As a more general question does anyone here use a heart rate monitor during exercise and if so how?

Post edited at 12:45
Report
 Planeandsimple 09 Apr 2020
In reply to Stone Muppet:

For your AeT this is probably the most useful test.
https://www.uphillathlete.com/heart-rate-drift/

It's not easy to achieve particularly if, as it sounds like you might be, you are Aerobically Deficient. The giveaway is that you seem to be able to talk in your Z3, this is something that can be trained, as can nose breathing past your AeT, I can do it because I've subconsciously practised it for years. Therefore HR drift is the best confirmation you can do at home.

I recommend doing this test on a treadmill, there is nowhere flat enough where I live for me to get a result which is valid.

Beware that if you are aerobically deficient you can get a similar HR drift when you are operating just below your AnT. Therefore before allow yourself some time for multiple re-tests to allow you to get a better feel for where your zones really lie.

Use this to find your AnT.
https://www.uphillathlete.com/diy-anaerobic-test/

For me I find a good guide is that at the end of the 45mins of the AnT (warm up inc) test I feel like I've really worked hard, breathing takes time to reset and my body is hot. When I have finished the 1hr 15mins for the AeT I feel like I could run another 5 of them back to back no problem.

Report
 Stone Muppet 09 Apr 2020
In reply to planetmarshall:

Ok so that one says (following link at bottom) go as hard as you can maintain for half an hour and measure the average heart rate. Pace yourself so you don't burn out. Makes me think if I can pace myself appropriately why do I need to measure heart rate anyway, but not to worry

Any tips on keeping within the 3bpm recommended training zone once I've worked this out? is it an unrealistic idea or does it come with practice?

Post edited at 12:56
Report
 Stone Muppet 09 Apr 2020
In reply to Planeandsimple:

> it sounds like you might be, you are Aerobically Deficient. The giveaway is that you seem to be able to talk in your Z3

Only about 3 words at a time, between breaths! But you may well be right. Firstly because z3 is how I instinctively think a workout should feel (it's how I would ride my mtb). Also I have mild asthma.

How should I train to correct it?

Report
 Mr Fuller 09 Apr 2020
In reply to Stone Muppet:

Go slower. The moment you can't hold comfortable conversation you are going too fast. If going slower on a hill means walking then that's fast. Running around in zone 3 is the least effective training zone for most people - not hard enough to be hard but not easy enough to be easy. The problem is it feels fun and like it's a good speed to go at!

Report
 ClimberEd 09 Apr 2020
In reply to Stone Muppet:

> Any tips on keeping within the 3bpm recommended training zone once I've worked this out? is it an unrealistic idea or does it come with practice?

Obviously if you are going up and down steep hills this isn't possible.

Other than that you should find it quite possible if you are exercising at the right level. The actual numbers are different for everyone but you should find your HR 'sticky' at certain points, so mine (for example) jump from 133 to 137 to 139 to 142, with quite noticeable changes in effort. With a little bit of feedback from a HR monitor I know what a given level 'feels like' and can exercise at that level and my HR won't jump around. 

Report
 Stone Muppet 09 Apr 2020
In reply to Mr Fuller:

Damn, that does sound a bit on the dull side! Will intervals in z4 (presumably what they used to call fartlek) sort out this aerobic deficiency or no?

Report
 Stone Muppet 09 Apr 2020
In reply to Mr Fuller:

> Running around in zone 3 is the least effective training zone for most people

Still burns more fat in total than zone 2 though right? It won't hurt me to lose some weight.

Report
 Mr Fuller 09 Apr 2020
In reply to Stone Muppet:

Fartlek and zone 4 will increase the size of your 'aerobic house' by pushing the ceiling up, but your house is already pretty big. What you need to do is start filling it with zone 2 stuff.

Running faster will burn more energy, yes, as you're working harder. It's not necessarily quite as simple as running faster burning more fat though, as if you're going fast you might not be fit enough to turn that fat into energy while you run. This is where having a big aerobic house full to the brim is beneficial, as you can begin to burn fat at higher heart rates. The best fat burning zones are steady - can burn fat while you run - and zone 4, where you'll get a big fat burning benefit afterwards created by the high demand placed on the body.

Post edited at 14:30
Report
 smithg 09 Apr 2020
In reply to Stone Muppet:

I wouldn’t worry too much about the exact numbers. The point is that below your AT you’re comfortable and can keep going for ages, above it, you’re having to work hard continuously and after a while you won’t be able to continue.
 

Twight’s %age targets are hard to hit accurately without a treadmill, although you could try doing many laps of whatever flat ground you’ve got available (eg round a football pitch) rather than long, varied runs. His aims are either: try to stay below the AT(so you can keep going forever) but still try quite hard; or try to stay above the AT (definitely working quite hard) but not a flat out sprint, so you can maintain it for the given duration.

It takes quite a bit of trial and error to gather enough data to know what normal for you is. It’s easier if you do the exact same run every time so you can see what causes which variations.

Report
 Stone Muppet 15 Apr 2020
In reply to Mr Fuller:

> Fartlek and zone 4 will increase the size of your 'aerobic house' by pushing the ceiling up, but your house is already pretty big. What you need to do is start filling it with zone 2 stuff.

So - been reading about this aerobic deficiency in a few posts but they all seem a bit vague. If I can still be deficient even with a 'big house' (I presume you mean a high aerobic threshold) how do I diagnose it? it sounds like it means I can't go very fast without pushing above zone 2, but there's no concrete definition of fast?

Report
 Stuart William 16 Apr 2020
In reply to Stone Muppet:

> Damn, that does sound a bit on the dull side! Will intervals in z4 (presumably what they used to call fartlek) sort out this aerobic deficiency or no?

My (far from expert) understanding is that  fast intervals etc are great for improving speed and pushing up your anaerobic threshold. However they are high injury risk, you don’t need to do high volume to get the benefit, and  it’s not a good way of forcing adaptations in aerobic functioning.

Part of the thinking behind slow z2 work is that at low intensity your body adapts by increasing mitochondrial density and blood flow to the muscles, so becomes more efficient. Over time this preps you to go faster at a lower effort level. Z2 is also low enough intensity for your body to gain almost all energy from fat sources, and get better at using fat to generate energy. Fat is much more energy dense than carbs.

Z3 is a weird middle ground as it isn’t hard enough to impact anaerobic threshold, but is too hard for your body to be able to make energy predominantly from fat as you go. So it begins to rely on stored carbs as it would at higher intensities, which are easier to access but finite and not very energy rich. Here you are also using fat deposits to some extent, but not enough to really force your body to get more efficient at it. So in zone 3 you are between energy systems and not effectively training any of them, but doing lots of moderately intense work that takes a toll on your body and has higher injury risk than zone 2. 

Apologies if that is awfully explained, it’s late and I don’t fully understand the biology behind it. A lot of very successful athletes swear by it though, and from what I do understand it makes sense - commit to training one thing or another in a session and don’t faff about in the middle ground too much.

Report
 Planeandsimple 17 Apr 2020
In reply to Stone Muppet:

> Only about 3 words at a time, between breaths! But you may well be right. Firstly because z3 is how I instinctively think a workout should feel (it's how I would ride my mtb). Also I have mild asthma.

> How should I train to correct it?

So asthma I can't help you with although most athletes I trained with when I was a rower at national level tested positive for asthma. So you're in good company. 

Z3 is tempting. It's easy to spend a lot of time training there because it feels like how we instinctively want training to feel, hard, physical and you get a big endorphin hit. It's why cross fit is so popular but is pretty useless for long distance training.

People who hit the cross fit hard tend to really suffer on long mountain days when you're trying to move fast and light in imperfect circumstances, ie sleep, food and water depleted. Which is counter intuitive as they definitely suffer more in their training. 

Report
 Stone Muppet 23 Apr 2020
In reply to Planeandsimple:

> For your AeT this is probably the most useful test.https://www.uphillathlete.com/heart-rate-drift/

I've been experimenting with this for a week or so and concluded that even the gentle hills where I live are enough to mess up this test. I realized I could achieve something similar by doing repeated laps of a short (10 minutes, maybe less next time) loop - if I compare average speed and heartrate for the same loop then correcting for terrain isn't needed. On the first attempt at this I realized that my phone GPS data is nowhere near accurate enough to allow accurate speed measurement on a short loop let alone correct pace for gradient, etc, so I won't be continuing with trainingpeaks after the free trial. But I may yet get this measurement sussed using lap times i.e. the old stopwatch approach... watch this space.

Post edited at 13:54
Report
 Stone Muppet 13 May 2020

I just realised this link https://www.uphillathlete.com/heart-rate-drift/ is rather self contradictory. The preamble ("from linear to nonlinear") implies we are looking for a point in the heart rate vs pace curve where the linear zone ends. But the rest of the page goes on to imply it's about change of that curve over time as the workout progresses. So you could take trainingpeaks pa:hr (not that my phone gps is accurate enough for it anyway, especially near cliff edges where spurious altitude change can be registered from small inaccuracies in position) to be measuring one of two different things, linearity of the curve, or consistency of the curve over time.

Either way I did notice towards the end of a 2.5h run yesterday that my hr was much higher on one of my usual climbs than it would be if I'd only run for half an hour. Presume that means I'd depleted a store of something or other and hence despite my best efforts to ensure otherwise I was above the aerobic threshold?

Post edited at 10:45
Report
 MattJ753 17 May 2020
In reply to Stone Muppet:

> I looked at some reviews of that, sounds like a 400 page textbook which tells you how to design a training regime rather than suggesting any specific program though - I'm kinda looking for the TLDR recipe...

> As a more general question does anyone here use a heart rate monitor during exercise and if so how?

Hiya, I think the 'training for new alpinism' book will give you most of the answers to the questions you are asking. And probably create more questions too. 

It explains the science behind the training, and although it's not rocket science, it can take a while to get your head round it if you're not from an endurance sport background. 

The training they reccommend is quite different to what the vast majority of people will do when just casually running. Keeping in mind the goal is to improve performance on big alpine routes, not just increase your 10 k time. 

I have to run REALLY slowly to stay under my aerobic threshold on flat ground...and I wouldn't consider myself unfit generally. But I think unless you have specifically trained in this way to increase your aerobic threshold, you probably will be "aerobically deficient" or whatever they call it. So embrace it, and put the miles in! 

I asked some questions on their Uphill Athlete site recently, and got some good feedback. Basically they said frequency and volume were key for building this, and even hiking on hilly terrain will help. And it takes weeks/months. But intensity has to be LOW. 

The aerobic threshold HR is easy enough to work out using the de-coupling method and a chest strap HR monitor. Needs to be done on a flat course. I'd definitely reccommend the book anyway.

Matt

Report
 Stone Muppet 18 May 2020
In reply to Planeandsimple:

@Planeandsimple I started a thread on the running forum but thought I'd ask you as you introduced me to the concept

If I manage to stay in z2 for say 75% of a run but stray into z3 for 25% of it (because it's very difficult/boring to run up a hill without doing so) is that ok or does it defeat the whole purpose of the z2 training?

Post edited at 10:15
Report

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.