First Anaerobic Threshold Test

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  • #52345

    I’m new to Uphill Athlete and just getting started by performing a HR Drift test and a Anaerobic Threshold test. I started HR Training under the MAF method in February and haven’t seen much in the way of results yet so I’ve continued to lower the top end of zone 2. I think was too generous with where I started thinking I was in better condition. I’m 46 and after doing AeT test on a track I think I’m settled in around 134-135 (which is where I should have started under MAF). In addition to this, I’ve started to increase my volume. I was around 3-4 hours a week and reached a little over 6 last week and hoping to get to 7. I’d like to settle in at 8-10 hours week if possible.
    Tonight I performed my AnT test on the treadmill. I did 30 minutes and gradually bumped the speed up until I felt slightly uncomfortable but maintained that speed from about the 11 min mark till the end. HR got to 160 around the 15 min mark and then slowly increased to 170-171 and then it actually dropped to 168 in the last couple of minutes with the speed held constant. My average HR was 158 over the 30 min. I should note I did a 15 min warm up as well. Does this appear to be a good AnT test and that I would set top of zone 3 to 158. And based on my drift test top of Zone 2 is 135. This puts me at 17% for the 10% test. As long as I’ve done everything correctly, this qualifies me for ADS. I would share my tests in TP if there is a way to do that.
    Just want to say I appreciate all the info on this site, the podcast as well as TfhUA. I just got my copy on Friday and I can’t put it down. My goals are to run in road marathons and start to transition to more trail running and hopefully an ultra someday. Right now I’m focused on improving my base and undoing my mistakes of the past.
    Thanks, John

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    mink.johns on #52352

    mink.johns on #52353

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    russes011 on #52362


    I believe your AnT test was not performed correctly. Although definitions varies, most take AnT to be the hardest effort you can put forth for about 1hr. It’s often described as an 8/10 effort. For the test to be accurate the pace and and HR during this 60min period should be relatively stable, which makes the test technically difficult to perform sometimes. A shorter method is to perform this test for 30mins. Regardless, a thorough warm-up that ramps your effort slowly up to AnT pace and HR should be performed, but once the actual testing starts you should be already at this effort/pace, or close to it. Even then, its useful to shave off the first 1/3 of the data (eg the first 10min of a 30min test, or the first 20min of a 60min test) and discard it. Your average HR for the remaining portion of the test would be your AnT. If there is much variation, or if you bonk and slow down somewhat, the test is likely less/not accurate. Bottom line is that a AnT is painful to perform, as well as somewhat technically challenging. The biggest confounder tends to be mental motivation, and not anything physical per se.

    (I’m guessing your AnT may actually be in the 170-175 range.)

    Hope this helps,


    PS – one drawback of the MAF system is that many can’t run with a HR below MAF. I would avoid shuffling because this may actually worsen your running economy, and even lead to injury. If running, per se, is important to you, I would run instead with good, normal form, just as easy as you can, until your system adapts and can do it below MAF. Then you can start paying attention to HR and MAF, etc. A few weeks or months of this type of easy running is healthy for your system, won’t lead to overtraining, and avoids the pitfalls of shuffling and too much walking (granted, on hilly terrain intermittent walking (not shuffling) is totally fine on the uphills).

    mink.johns on #52383

    Thanks for the information Steve. Sounds like the Gap between my AeT and AnT may be a little bigger than I thought. I’m addition it seems like I’m on the right track with long away runs, just need to make sure it’s not so slow I’m impacting my form.

    I was trying to share links to my tests in TP but was struggling to get those links to post in a reply. I’ll just forgo that for now and maybe best approach would be to set up a 30 min coaching call.

    Thanks again for your help. ~John

    Rachel on #52392

    Here’s a link to your workout

    AnT tests are hard. I have my best results if I’m going for some sort of personal best or trying to beat a Strava time. But the good news is you have a lot of low hanging fruit to harvest by working right under your aerobic threshold and having a slightly higher AnT won’t change that. (It will affect your TSS scores though. If you find they seem really off that is a hint your AnT may well be different).

    Scott Johnston likes to ask this question about whether an effort is aerobic & easy enough — can you do it every day, day after day? It sounds a lot like you are trying to do this with your low HR training so keep up the good work!

    Also with running at a low HR. Walk/run intervals are a really good way to keep your HR in the right zone when you are stuck in that too fast to walk, too slow to jog zone. You can start with say 30 seconds of running, 2 minutes of walking and then increase the jog/walk ratio over time so that you are running more and more.

    mink.johns on #52410

    Hi Rachael, thanks for the reply and the information. I’m new to training peaks and don’t have a good understanding of the TSS score yet, sounds like that may be a little off if my AnT is slightly higher than the result I got on my test.

    Thanks for the tips on keeping my HR down with the run/walk strategy. I definitely have to walk on even the slightest uphill (which is frustrating but I’m
    Committed to building my base.). Hopefully I’ll be able to run continuous on rolling hills after a few months.

    Thank you,

    Anonymous on #53524

    I would confirm the AnT test with a 30-minute test outside.

    On a treadmill, it’s too easy to force a faster AnT pace and thus the HR. (For an AeT test, treadmills are ideal for a similar but opposite reason; we can force a slower pace.)

    For someone new to training, a 30-minute test is plenty. Longer tests are possible with more experience, a longer training history, and a bigger base.

    When planning for volume increases, bear in mind that going from 0 to 3h/wk to 8h/wk to 10h/wk could take years. In annual volume, those numbers are ~150h, ~400h, and ~500h. If you try that in one year, you’ll likely get sick, injured, overtrained, and/or burnt out. Focus on the highest quality volume that you can adapt to rather than an arbitrary number.

    Anonymous on #53526

    Doh. I just looked at the workout file. Definitely repeat the test outside. That one was too fast; your HR climbed throughout. For a threshold test, if your output is on-target and steady, your HR will climb for the first 10-ish minutes and then hold steady.

    To get that right, under-estimate your starting speed, build up to it, and then hold for the last twenty minutes. Most people burst out of the gate, get slower and slower, and have a lower HR overall.

    mink.johns on #53559

    Hi Scott,
    I can see how the treadmill forced a faster pace than what I should have been doing. This is all a little confusing as in reading what to do from the book and the videos I though I’d want to be going at a pretty hard pace. I’m guessing it would be best to do that on a track to keep the run as flat as possible. My AeT was performed on a track and I thought that yielded a reasonable result. I appreciate both your posts very much. At the beginning of April I had a coaching call with Sam Naney and learned that I probably don’t need to worry about the threshold test at this time. It’s fairly obvious that I have a lot of opportunity to improve my aerobic base so for the past month I’ve been working on that by adopting run/walk approach and Sam recommended 10 sec hill sprints once a week. I’ve been doing that and basing my weekly hours off how I feel. For example I had a big week a few weeks ago and realized I was over reaching. I took about a week off and have dialed my hours back some. The good news is I’m getting faster at the same HR (based off running the same route). I haven’t started from ground zero, but defined new to this approach this year. When I started back in feb my pace was around 13 min/mile and this week I had a run at 10:45/mile. Everyone on this site has been very positive and supportive and I appreciate the feedback. Hopefully I’m on the right track.

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