This summer, all my running has been focused on base building using the Hadd method. For the first 4 weeks, I made some exciting progress, but somewhere during the next 6 weeks (I know, I should have tested sooner), my paces regressed to being mostly a little slower than when I started. At first, I thought the bad test was a fluke, since I hadn't been feeling tired or stressed or anything, so I re-tested after a few more weeks of lower mileage and more rest. Same result.
My questions to all those with experience in low HR training are:
2400m test results
I've been running for about 2 years, mostly about 30 mpw with a few periods of almost 60 mpw. This summer, I averaged about 52 mpw with several weeks of almost 60.
Max HR: 197+
PRs (before this summer):
1 mile - 5:50
5k - 20:22
15k - 1:08:57
My log is public.
It appears you dropped your mileage but not your pace or HR. Your may just need more recovery time. Your race times have improved greatly.
Run until the trail runs out.
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How exactly have you been base building?
Have you been keeping your base-building at or below the "easy running" heart rate?
How does your easy running HR compare to your MAF?
Have you included the ILTHR's in your weekly training?
Before you entered the Hadd training, were you progressing in training for awhile at the same HR, or plateauing, or regressing?
Has your daily runs during Hadd training at the same HR been regressing or plateauing? If they're improving, while your 2400m test tanked, then maybe the test was just one of those bad days. If they are also stymied, then your body is telling you to make a change towards a less is more direction. It doesn't mean you over-trained---over-training is a specific state that will also show up in your resting heart rate and be accompanied by other symptoms.
Looks like you hopped up to 60 mpw pretty quickly. Sometimes when a runner builds volume too fast, regression can happen---doing it summer can sometimes be a double whammy due to heat stress. That doesn't mean that's the case with you, as it could be the ILTHR's, if you are doing them.
You might consider just taking a few extra rest days, then cut back 20%, perhaps 30-40 mpw and then retest after a few weeks. Then do your buildup to 60 mpw when it starts to cool. Perhaps, go from 40 to 60 mpw a bit slower (e.g. 40, 43, 46, 49, 52, 55, 58, 60)-- with a cutback week thrown in.
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>How exactly have you been base building?
>Have you been keeping your base-building at or below the "easy running" heart rate?
>How does your easy running HR compare to your MAF?
I've been running only easy paces for this whole summer, and sticking to just the Hadd aerobic program. No speedwork or anything like that. All my running has been between 140-160 HR, which is all easy. Using Maffetone's rules, I would set my MAF HR at 150.
> Have you included the ILTHR's in your weekly training?
I assume by these, you mean the sustained runs at a heart rate of 160. Yes, I have been doing those. I started out at 6 miles at that pace and worked up, and for the 5 weeks leading up to the bad test I ran the full 10 miles at 160 (with some warmup/cooldown on either side). My pace for those 10 miles was coming down (9:06, 8:52, 8:44, 8:32, 8:11). That's why I was somewhat surprised my lower HR ranges slowed in the test.
>Before you entered the Hadd training, were you progressing in training for awhile at the same HR, or plateauing, or regressing?
Before starting the Hadd program this summer, my training leading up to it was a Daniels plan, and I was racing a few times a month. I was definitely progressing with my race performances, but I didn't pay as much attention to my heart rate then, so I don't know if I was making much aerobic improvement.
>Has your daily runs during Hadd training at the same HR been regressing or plateauing?
I hadn't really been watching these closely since my pace depended on temperature and humidity, but looking back more closely now, I'd say it looks like those times are regressing slightly, even accounting for hotter average temps by 5 degrees.
>Sometimes when a runner builds volume too fast, regression can happen---doing it summer can sometimes be a double whammy due to >heat stress. That doesn't mean that's the case with you, as it could be the ILTHR's, if you are doing them.
I've been considering the mileage increase and the ILTHRs also. Usually when I ramp up mileage, it's injury that makes me scale it back, and since that didn't happen this time and I was doing only easy running, I figured it would be OK. On the ILTHRS, they were never HARD, but I did wonder if doing 10 miles' worth was appropriate for my fitness level. For Hadd's example runner, 10 miles took around an hour, but for me it was close to 1.5 hours.
I've experimented with Hadd during an anaerobic phase, as I don't consider the ILTHR runs to be aerobic base building workouts, but progressive LT tempos (it's important to note in the HADD training that the mythical Joe had to run for awhile at his easy heart rate and get his volume up before beginning the LT part of the program). IF this recent test is not an anomaly (bad day), then the slowing (overall plateau) in the 140 and 150 slots shows that your training load isn't improving your aerobic system--these slots could be considered your MAF test. If it's that long tempo that set you back, then some recovery time miight be what you need. Cutting volume and/or avoiding the LT tempos until you progress again might be in order.
Hadd has an interesting program, but after two experiments with it, I found that just one 20-40 LT run at 85-90% MHR every week or two gets the same job done with a lot less stress in the long run.
Daniel's (Running Formula) is pretty much the same as Pfitz, but keeps it to 20 minutes.
You'll figure it out. Like I said, maybe you just had a bad day and just need to retest in a few weeks. The 2400m test itself is a hard workout, you might consider not doing it too close to one of your tempo runs. Rest up for it.