Whew! That’s a lot of questions. Let me tackle them one at a time.
The first thing to recall is that HR is only a proxy for intensity (as measure by pace or power). But it’s the best proxy mountain athletes have for controlling intensity.
1) is it better to have a higher LT HR? Yes, you want the LT as close to max HR as possible. Remember from the book that the LT represents your endurance limit or the maximum sustainable out put for many minutes (30-60 depending on fitness). So a higher power/pace (and corresponding HR) means you are moving faster at the maximum sustainable effort.
2)if training peak notifies me that my LT HR got higher, is it a good thing?
if it is, then the gap between my LT and AeT is widened and means I am aerobic deficient. so sounds like a bad thing. Yes it means your endurance has improved. If your AeT did not move up though you are not doing enough aerobic base training. If you keep that up you will end up here.
3) intuitively, I feel like the lower the AeT the better – because you are running at a certain pace at a lower HR.
for example, if I were to run easy at 11:20 min/mile pace, wouldn’t it be better if I ran it at a lower HR of 133 than at 139?. If everything was equal you’d be better off if you 11:20pace elicited a HR of 133 rather than 139. But, if you were running at 10:45/mile at 139 and still under your aerobic threshold that would be even better. With proper aerobic base training both AeT pace and HR go up in lock step. This improvement can go 0n for years even after the AeT Hr plateaus. The AeT pace will keep climbing.
4) so, in order to understand your fitness, can you rely only on the lactate values from getting blood drawn during the test, not your HR? No the lactate vs HR curve can be very useful but it is certainly not the only way you can understand your fitness. The two most important measures of an endurance athlete’s fitness are Pace at AeT And Pace at LT HR.
5) how do you train at Z1-2 when you are climbing? are you distilled down to hiking and no running at all? Yes. If your aerobic capacity is such that you can not run up a steeper grade and stay under AeT then you must slow to walking. Notice how ultra runners walk many of the steep uphills in race? That’s because in long events it is important to stay under AeT or close to it as much as possible.
6) when setting your zones for running on trainingpeaks, which method am I suppose to use that best matches the zones mentioned in your book?USAT? Joel Friel? CTS etc…
thank you When setting zones keep it simple. Use 4 ones only. You can customize the zones in TP to your own needs. Set top of Z2 at AeT. Set top of Z3 at LT. Set top of Z1 10% below AeT. Z4 is everything above LT. See how easy that was?
I hope this helps.