getting started with AeT

  • Creator
  • #45189

    Hey folks,

    Trying to get going with the 8 week ski mountaineering training plan. My goal is to improve my lousy endurance for the upcoming season so that I’m not completely gassed just skinning to the bottom of the day’s downhill objective as in previous seasons. Very clear case of ADS, as you describe it.

    My problem is with establishing an AeT to define correct training zones. I’ve never done any heart rate training in the past, but from what I gather, the MAF formula ought to be at least ballpark correct, and that would put me at 130, since I just turned 50. When I go to apply the heart rate drift test, though, I discover that there is basically no pace that I know how to keep that could be still be called “running” that would result in my heart rate stabilizing anywhere near that 130. Basically, as soon as I start running, even at the most desultory plodding pace, about half a mile in my heart rate jumps and doesn’t stop climbing until it’s in the 150-160 range, If I slow to a walk, though, my heart rate drops quickly below 130, to where it’s tough just to keep it above 120. My attempt at the nose-breathing test also didn’t go so well – I thought I was in the right zone, only to find an average heart rate of 150 something for the workout. I was running a lot last spring, but slacked off over the summer, so I’m not in especially good shape right now, but not a disaster either.

    The only thing I can think to do to proceed with the training program is just to take that MAF number as a target, start out running really slowly, get as far as I can until my heart rate goes above that, then walk until it drops down to 120-125, then run again, and so forth. I tried this yesterday for an hour, and ended up with an average heart rate of 133 – I wasn’t stopping at the top end as carefully as I might have, and ended up closer to 140 on most every “running” interval.

    Is this a reasonable way to proceed? I’m reading Training for the New Alpinism now, and the training guidelines you lay out seem to make a ton of sense, and I’d love to give them a whirl, but I’m not sure I’m starting out on the right foot.

    Apologies for the very basic question. Obviously I’m new to this sort of thing. Thanks for whatever advice you can give me!

  • Participant
    Shashi on #45204

    Welcome to the forum.

    MAF approach to calculate AeT is quick and simple, but not accurate.

    Do you have access to a treadmill to do an indoor AeT test?

    Check out this article for detailed instructions for an indoor test.

    Hope this helps.

    JB on #45208

    Thanks for your reply! Appreciate it.

    Anonymous on #45327

    Shashi is correct. Use a treadmill.

    It’s hard to tell what the issue is. IT could be that your ADS is very severe. It could also be that you have higher than average heart rates.

    If you do a treadmill test, you’ll get a better feel for where you’re at. Once the workout is posted to Training Peaks, post a link in this thread, and we can take a look.

    JB on #45656

    Thank you, Scott. Sadly, the treadmill test is going to have to wait until the world is a little less COVID-y.

    I did manage to do a drift test running a flat course for an hour. The results are here:

    As you can see, I’m managing to run, keeping my heart rate right around 130, for an hour, although there is some pretty obvious decoupling, where I’m needing to keep my pace slower and slower in order to maintain the same heart rate. The 8.62% pa/hr number seems to support this as well, suggesting that 130 is too high a heart rate for me to aim for as an AeT. FWIW, this is with comfortable, easy nose-breathing the whole time.

    The problem: In order to keep my heartrate near 130, I am running really, really slowly. Like, elderly people passing at a vigorous walk, children pointing and laughing slowly. (OK, I’m exaggerating a little about the children.) The only way I could aim for and maintain a heartrate any lower, like 125, say, would be by walking. But walking, I find it’s kind of a struggle to get my heartrate that high, assuming flat terrain. Walking as fast as I can, which gets a little spazzy and uncomfortable, I can get it to maybe 120, but dropping below that frequently.

    I see two solutions, and I’m wondering which is better. 1: Keep going with the program running, using 130 as an AeT, even though it is probably a little too high, and hope that with time my AeT rises. 2: Walk instead, but possibly not really challenging my aerobic metabolism enough to improve it.

    I suppose the actual best solution is to use a treadmill at fixed speed with an incline, so that I can walk, but still maintain a high enough heartrate. Except I don’t own a treadmill, and it’ll be a while before I venture to a gym again.

    Any advice you might have would be appreciated!

    Rachel on #45679

    I can’t run too much at AeT either, so I alternate running and walking to keep my HR in the right zone. When I started running last year I had to walk/run, my HR would shoot up way high instantly. But with time, I could continuously run downhill or on flats, slowing down as needed to keep my HR in the zone. Finally I managed to run on a gentle uphill under AeT and felt really awesome, even if it was super slow. I would have to almost run in place sometimes to get my HR back down but it worked.

    This year I haven’t run as much (dealing with shin splints) so I do a lot of walk/run to keep my HR up but without as much impact. I actually kind of prefer walk/run because you can run a bit faster when you do run.

    The key with walk/run is to stop running before you hit your AeT, maybe set an alarm for a couple bpm lower. For example, if my AeT is 138, I might set my alarm to 135. And then I have an alarm to start running again. Today I would start running once it hit 134. Other days I’m feeling mellower and set it for 10% below AeT.

    You may also want to lower your AeT a bit since the drift was high.

    JB on #45699

    Thanks, rachelp, that’s definitely what I’ll be doing for anything involving hills. So far, on a hilly route, the amount of running I’m able to do, even on the flatter bits, gets pretty short, pretty quickly, so I’m glad to hear your were able to improve that nicely with time.

    Anonymous on #45729

    I agree with Rachel’s suggestions. Approaching 6 kph is when the mechanics of walking for most people become awkward; it feels too fast to walk and too slow to run. As Rachel said, your speed will increase over time.

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