Competing Aerobic & Anaerobic Capacities

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  • #60205

    Hi all,

    Based on what I’ve learned so far, I understand that you can grow your Aerobic Capacity by pushing your AeT from the bottom up by focusing on training loads below your AeT. My question is: can you also push *down* your AeT by spending time training above AeT? In other words, if I’m spending too much time in Zone 3, am I counteracting the work I’m putting in during Zone 1 & 2 to grow my Aerobic base?

    Case in point: I’m fortunate enough to live where I can enjoy road cycling almost year round (NorCal), and moving quickly on my road bike is something I really enjoy. Since I’m not currently training towards a specific mountain goal, I’m generally OK with trading some of my specific training load in this program for an activity I simply enjoy too much to quit altogether. That being said, I also want to be careful not to overly un-do the work of growing my Aerobic base. When I ride, it’s not unusual for me to avg. ~150bpm over a 1.5 – 3hr period. My current AeT is right around 133bpm. If I’m doing this ride once a week, could this have a significant negative impact on pushing up my AeT?

    Insights/feedback appreciated! Thanks for all this great info so far!


  • Moderator
    MarkPostle on #60208

    Kerry- This might be a good one to dive into a little on Zoom actually as it’s related to some other folks questions. The short answer is yes too much high-intensity work can cannibalize your sub AeT aerobic capacity. It is also a drain on time and recovery that could potentially be better spent boosting your low intensity efficiency if thats an issue for you. So the question you pose here is how much is too much?? For your scenario presented (cycling @ 150 bpm) I would recommend this not exceed 10-15% of your total weekly training volume if I had to put a number on it. Thats not as big a deal now but my concern would be a bit down the road if/when you start layering on a good bit of sport specific high intensity work and also keep the high intensity cycling in the mix then you could be well above that 10-15% mark and would be doing yourself a disservice. if as you mention you don’t have a short term specific mountaineering goal and really enjoy the cycling then I would go for it but realize in the future you might want to rethink that to best achieve your goals.

    kerryob on #60227

    Thanks, Mark. That’s helpful insight. I realize now that I probably should’ve dialed back my cycling further before climbing Baker + Rainier last summer. I felt I did quite well, fitness wise, but my aerobic base probably suffered a bit more than I wanted it to, due this factor.

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