Aerobic Base Building: Flat or Inclines? | Uphill Athlete

Aerobic Base Building: Flat or Inclines?

  • Creator
  • #56529


    I’m in the 2nd season of using TFTNA and TFUA to train for Mountaineering. I saw a big improvement in my fitness last season, but am doubting if I’m approaching aerobic base building correctly. I was so out of shape prior to all this that doing just about anything probably helped and now I feel like I’m reaching a wall in aerobic fitness.

    To train my aerobic base, I walk up and down as steep of a hill as I can find in the mornings in a fasted state while trying to stay under AeT. After more reading, I realized my respiratory metric is not accurate enough to to correctly define my AeT and I should perform a drift test as laid out by UA. This is likely part of the reason I’m feeling that “wall”, because I’m actually spending portions of my sessions in Z3.

    Is it better to build aerobic base on flat/slightly hilly terrain where it’s easier to maintain a consistent HR and trust that the ME portion will take care of my legs during the uphill? Or was it actually a good idea for me to try to make my aerobic base building sessions as specific as possible by using a steep(ish) hill?

  • Participant
    Shashi on #56530

    Welcome to the Uphill Athlete forum.

    If you have easy access to a steep hill, then that would be preferred. You can slow down to keep your HR below AeT. If you don’t have easy access to hilly terrain, then you can do weekday workouts indoors or on nearby flat/slightly hilly terrain and longer/weekend workouts on steep hills.

    nereo.alvarez02 on #56538

    That’s what I figured. But I’m still a little confused about the relationship between HR, AeT, ME, and general performance.

    From my readings, I have the impression that each weakness has a unique solution: ie. more aerobic base building if you’re breathing too hard uphill or more/better ME if your legs feel heavy. But my understanding of HR is that it’s a measure of efficiency of how much blood your heart can pump for a given exertion (hence why HR rises when going uphill even at the same pace). If I were able to reduce the level of exertion required through more strength and ME training (to an extent/piano movers analogy in TFTNA), then wouldn’t that also reduce the HR required to maintain a certain pace while going uphill? Or am I wrong to think that aerobic capacity and ME are coupled in that way?

    Shashi on #56543

    I would recommend reading Training for Mountaineering article as it provides some insight into key components of the fitness and types of training. It will also provide a link to a ME article, that highlights the importance of having a strong aerobic base before you jump into ME training.

    Based on what you shared earlier, it would be good to establish your AeT/AnT and heart rate zones. Once your AeT is within 10% of your AnT, you can include ME workouts in your training.

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