Discouraged after AnT Test

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  • #45929

    I live at 8500′ in Colorado and usually train at similar elevations. I started running consistently in May, and started the marathon training plan a couple months ago. I have been frustrated because I don’t feel like I’m getting faster/better. My AeT is 144 (typically this is about an 10:00-11:00 mile depending on the terrain). I did the 30 min AnT test the other day and guessed my AnT would be near to 152, but I could not sustain 152 at all. 150 was what came back as my average (which is like 4%) – and even at that the test was HARD. I really struggled. I did it on a graduation incline trail, and my pace was 11:15 which feels dreadful for going as hard as I was (though it was uphill). I’ve been feeling confused since about what this means. The notes say I should train now at Z1, but Z1 for me is essentially walking. Do I need more time building my base? I’m feeling discouraged.

    A few notes which may, or may not be, relevant:

    – I have had many botched training days because of the smoke levels outside, I feel like my running performance since the smoke came in over the summer has gotten worse, even on the clear days.

    – I do have asthma, though it feels well controlled? I do still feel like my respiratory effort is high compared to my heart rate sometimes, especially when I head any higher above 9,000′. Sometimes I feel limited by feeling out of breath, though my body and heart feel fine – is this common, or could it be a result of my asthma?

    – There are no flat trails around here. My flattest runs average about 400’gain over 3 miles. I am walking most uphills still to keep my HR below AeT, which does affect my pace and slows me down. Should I still be seeing the pace improvements that those on truly flat runs will see?

    – I did do a run at 3000′ elevation a few weeks ago and felt like a superhero. Lungs felt fantastic down there!

Posted In: Mountain Running

  • Participant
    Dada on #45933


    Anonymous on #45956

    High elevations will affect your range of heart rates. An AnT test will be relevant to similar elevations, but you would have to test again to get a useful test for another elevation (i.e. 5,000′).

    Also, 144 feels fine, but 150 feels hard? That would be an unusually narrow Zone 3. How did you test the two thresholds? And you’re using a heart rate monitor with a chest strap?

    Rachel on #46038

    I have done my past AnT tests starting at 9200 feet, and I have asthma (well-controlled). I do find at the end of the AnT test I always have a moment where I’m worried I will have an asthma attack because I’m breathing so hard (for some reason I don’t notice as much until I am done with the torture), but after a few minutes my breathing and HR slow down and I feel ok. I have not had problems getting my HR sky high at elevation myself. (I’ve hit my highest ever HR at about 10000 feet during an AnT test).

    I think the biggest limiter at these altitudes is breathing. I don’t think that ever goes away.

    I would maybe try the test again — it may have been an off day or something where you just weren’t feeling great (the smoke sure wouldn’t have helped). Especially because having your AeT and AnT that close together at such a high elevation would be pretty amazing.

    Erica on #46054

    Thanks for the replies! I am using a chest strap monitor.The weird thing about this is I knew to aim for 152 from cycling because historically 152 is where my HR feels like an extremely hard effort (which is strange because its such a narrow range)…

    Since I posted I did a couple AnT interval runs that were in the training plan, and I went into them aiming for 152. And 150-152 is definitely very very hard for me – one run required 4 min intervals and I went accidentally as high as 153 and that felt absolutely HARD (like potentially asthma attack hard) and barely sustainable for 4 minutes.

    I now am thinking perhaps my real AeT is lower than 144. 144 feels hard for me and never feels “easy” like the runs say..so maybe my AeT isn’t accurate anymore. I think I’m going to re-test that again and see how it goes? All this seems like it would make more sense if perhaps my true AeT was even 140…am I correct in suspecting this? The 150-152ish range for my AnT seems like something I cant dispute simply because I just can’t push past it at all…whereas my AeT probably has more potential of being inaccurate since I might have been translating “easy” as incorrect?

    And Rachel – thanks so much for sharing your experience training with asthma! Thats super helpful and reassuring. Initially I was suspecting that it might have been an off day and to do it again, but its seeming accurate (but also with all the smoke in the air this past week, it could just be my asthma acting up again)

    Anonymous on #46177

    Let’s back up.

    A target HR range of two beats is not realistic. Where did you get that as a prescription? The tightest realistic target is maybe a 5-beat range.

    I think you need to do all of your testing over. If 153 felt unsustainable for four minutes, then how could 152 be sustainable for an hour? (which is a measure of the anaerobic threshold.)

    Based on your comments, I suspect that your anaerobic threshold is probably in the 140s and your aerobic has yet to be determined.

    Read this in detail, and then start over:

    Aerobic Self-Assessment for Mountain Athletes

    Also remember that a high-elevation test will be useless for low-elevation training. You’ll have to test again.

    Erica on #46183

    I think my reply must have been confusing. Sorry about that. I’ll probably just do my tests over. thanks!

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