AeT and elevation

  • Creator
  • #14349

    I’m wondering how best to modify my training during my coming trip to low elevation. I live in the mountains north of Santa Fe and train mainly by hiking on trails at elevations between 8,000′-10,000′. I determined my AeT by HR drift on a treadmill at 7,300′. I’m going to Texas for about a week where I’ll be on bike trails at elevations of a few hundred feet. I’ll have access to a treadmill so I’m thinking I should redo the AeT estimate at the lower elevation? Most of my training in NM is hiking. It seems like I might have to run in Texas for similar training benefit? If you have any recommendations I’m all ears.

    My goal is to be strong when we climb Gannett peak next summer. My anaerobic threshold HR is about 162 and my aerobic threshold HR is about 132. I’m hoping to get my AeT HR into the mid 140s in New Mexico before we go to Wyoming.

  • Participant
    hafjell on #14350

    Be careful. I had a friend who, after a summer of commuting on his mountain bike at Santa Fe elevations, went to sea level for a week and torqued his knee. He had so much oxygen he couldn’t get up to threshold without straining his legs.

    Anonymous on #14362

    If you are only in TX for a week I don’t think you need to do another test. With the increased oxygen you will probably see as much as a 10 beat increase in AeT. If you are not running any/much now I don’t recommend shifting to a daily running program for that one week. Jumping into a running program at your current hiking training volume could easily result in injury which would then derail your overall training progression.


    johnepearson on #15225

    Thanks for your answers, Scott and hafjell. I took your advice, sort of. In Houston (sea level) I put in a lot of walking miles. In Austin (elev 500′) I ran enough to discover I don’t know how to run any more. I would run until I felt warm spots in my hamstrings and then I’d switch to walking. No injuries. Then I went to Nagasaki (sea level) and put in only walking miles there, as best I could. Now I am going to Asheville NC (elevation 2,100′) for 3 weeks. I’m thinking that there I’ll really need to get a new estimate of AeT and probably to run unless I can find something steep enough and long enough to keep my heart up. I confess to having tried to doing an AeT HR drift test in Houston. I couldn’t do it. I hate tread mills anyway, but the relentless pace and pitch needed to get to close to what I felt might be AeT was unpleasant. In the mountains if I want to stop for a second I stop for a few seconds. You can’t do that on a tread mill. At home I don’t mind the pace I need for an HR drift test on a treadmill, but I’m not sure what I should do in Asheville. We’re staying in Airbnb’s not hotels, so we’ll have to go to a gym to use a treadmill. For 3 weeks maybe I could skip the treadmills and just push as hard as I can while staying able to sing gunfighter songs sort of in tune?

    gfilip on #17036

    Hi Scott,

    Should I expect a similar impact on the AeT but in reverse when coming from ~1,000′ to train at ~6,000′ for several days? I certainly expect the AeT to be lower at the higher elevation but am trying to figure out just how much lower it may be. Will nasal breathing still be a good marker for the AeT with this type of an elevation change?



    Steve House on #17433

    David Goettler and Ueli Steck Put Low-Intensity Training to the Test in the Khumbu

    That should answer your question Greg as it goes into the physiology a bit more.

    gfilip on #17490

    Thank you Steve, that is a very useful article.

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