Correct method to determine the AeT / Zone 2

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  • #84219

    Hello everyone !

    New to trail running and I was reading “Training for the Uphill Athlete”. Not finished yet but I have a question on building a solid aerobic base.
    I’ve read in the book about the way to find your AeT by running on flat ground, mouth closed until it’s become hard and you have to use your mouth.
    Also Mathieu Blanchard gave his insight of training in zone 1 most of the time, he described the zone 1 by running while your mouth is closed but I guess that his AeT/AnT gap is so small because he’s a professionnal.

    I have a Garmin Watch who gave me by my zones (calculated by garmin I don’t know how)
    So basically when I’m running mouth closed I can go to the upper of the zone 3, and I’m still relax, I’m not suffocating or whatever.

    What thing should I trust ? The good old method of mouth closed and keep running ignoring the bpm alarm of my watch or keeping an eye on my watch and slow down once I’m leaving zone 2 ?

    I also do grappling sports and I climb 2 days a week both. Sometime I feel tired so I feel that my BPM is raising up but I don’t feel it in my breathing. Is that normal ? Does that makes the HRM calculator falsy because I’m tired (I mean I do the same effort without exhaustion but my BPM is higher than usual)

    Thank you !

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  • Keymaster
    Jane Mackay on #84243

    Hi Mori,
    First, welcome!
    Using the ventilatory thresholds to gauge effort level tends to be most accurate for well-trained athletes, so it would be best at this point to use HR as your guide. Over time, as you work with the AeT method of training, you’ll start to ‘know’ instinctively when you’re in Z2 and when you’re in Z3. If your heart’s working hard, then your heart is working hard, and you need to pay attention to that.
    Hope this helps,

    Mori on #84246

    Hi Jane,

    Thank you so much for thoses precisions. See, the more I read the more I have question. I wasnt asking myself that much at the beginning but now I have a little bit of knowledges, I have so many questions in my head !!
    For a resting BPM of 46, I’m 30 years old so let’s say my max HR is a 220-30=190

    Which zones I have to invest in ? Garmin or Karvonen ?

    Méthode Karvonen
    Zone 1 119 133
    Zone 2 133 148
    Zone 3 148 162
    Zone 4 162 177
    Zone 5 177 191

    Methode Garmin
    Zone 1 96 115
    Zone 2 115 134
    Zone 3 134 153
    Zone 4 153 172
    Zone 5 172 191

    A last question, for example today I was running really slow, like 7:30min / km, avg bpm at 135, but then, after 8/9 km, at the same pace I was at 155/160. I guess I’m tired from the training I had this week. What should I do in this case to continue to build my aerobic capacity.
    Should I :

    – Continue until I finish this run at this steady pace, slow pace, ignoring my bpm which is going higher ? I felt the same during the whole run. From the 1km to the 12km. But my bpm was really different.
    – Stop running and start walking until my bpm is going low, but I’ve tried this, it was impossible to run again because my HR was going to high at the end of the run

    Jane Mackay on #84329

    Hi Mori,

    The UA method uses its own zone system, so I can’t advise you about Garmin and Karvonen. This article explains the UA zones and also includes a calculator:

    We try to answer every question in this forum, but you have some really good questions that are very specific to your training, so a half-hour consultation with one of our coaches would allow you to ask all your questions and get guidance that is specific to you:

    Regarding the HR going into Z3 when running, this happened to me a lot in the beginning, and I got really frustrated because half of every run was a walk. The slightest gradient would send my HR up into Z3 and I would have to walk and then start running slowly again once I got on ground that was level or downhill. Also, towards the end of every run the HR would go higher and I would end the run at a walk. But now, 3 years on (I was almost 50 when I began), I run easily up moderate gradients and my HR stays in Z2. And likewise for long runs. (Strength training has played a part in this too.) So I can say that this method does work, but it takes patience and persistence. And more patience 😉


    Mori on #84338

    Thank you very much for your answer Jane !


    Bhh21 on #84345


    The default heart rate zones set by Garmin are calculated using a slightly different methodology than the Uphill Athlete methodology.

    Once you’ve determined ypur AeT and AnT as described in Uphill Athlete, you can manually adjust the heart rate zones on your Garmin watch.

    Regarding difficulty staying below Z3, that was my experience as well when I started out with Uphill Athlete. It was very frustrating, I had to maintain what seemed like a ridiculously slow pace on level ground to stay below Z3. I did need to walk at times, and some runs it seemed like any effort beyond a moderate walk would spike my heart rate. I stuck with it, and in a few weeks I saw progress. Now, after a but over a year of following the Uphill Athlete approach, I can maintain a respectable running pace in Z1 for hours. It works, just hang in there!

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