HR drift test analysis and questions

  • Creator
  • #74391

    I am 52 years young avid rock climber. I haven’t done any structured cardio but I do climb outside(2 days per week with approaches of 15-30m each way) and do easy hikes once per week. I would like to improve my speed and endurance for long days in the mountains(ie Mt Whitney this summer, multi-pitch routes with longer approaches/walk-offs here in Vegas).

    I used the Maffetone formula(180-52-5=123) to get a starting point for a treadmill HR drift test. After warming up and testing different speeds I went with 15% grad at 2.3mph. My first half averaged HR~124 and my second half averaged HR~135 for a 8.9% drift. This leads me to believe that my Aet is something below 123, and that I need to repeat the test.

    1)Am I doing this right?

    2)test again with a slower pace – maybe 15% @2.1mph? Or take another 5 off my MAF and try to find pace for HR~118 while warming up?

    3)How fit am I? I am just curious if there are any good benchmarks as I have no idea where I stand.


  • Keymaster
    Jane Mackay on #74433

    Hi Mike,

    1) As far as I can tell, as long as you held the pace steady and allowed for a 15-20 min warmup, you did the test right.

    2) Yes, a retest at a slower pace is the way to go. That’s quite a big drift, so you might even want to try 2mph. I know it seems really slow, but the good news is that structured, progressive aerobic training as described on this site and in the books leads to rapid gains for the aerobically challenged. One note about the warmup: I also am 52 years young and I find I need a good 20 mins for the system to come online. You could try doing a 20 min warmup and then start the recording.

    3) From this little bit of information it’s very hard to give any kind of answer to that question. Let’s see what your retry on the drift test shows.

    One other note: are you using a chest strap and monitor to measure your HR or are you using the HR monitor on your watch? We do not recommend using the watch because it’s too far from the heart and notoriously inaccurate.


    Jane Mackay on #74434

    One other tip: carefully review the instructions for doing the test on the treadmill before redoing it.

    killfatmike on #74437

    Thanks so much for your thoughts/advice. While I am follically challenged I have never thought of myself as “aerobically challenged” 🙂

    Yes, I used a chest strap.

    I will try the test again with a longer warmup and 2.0mph.

    killfatmike on #75166

    I tested again today(15%@2.0mph) as you suggested. This time I got a drift of ~3.4%. I felt like I could maintain nasal breathing as long as I focused on it, and the RPE felt more like a conversation pace than last time, but I did notice a bit of fatigue start to build in the last 5-10 minutes.

    If I understand this right this means the top of my Z2 is the “starting HR for the test”. My HR average from minute 5 to minute 10 was 115. Giving me the following:

    Recovery 88-104

    Aerobic Capacity 103-115

    Anaerobic Threshold 116-?(haven’t done the anaerobic test yet)

    Does this look right?

    As someone new to structured CV training should I test again in a month or two?

    killfatmike on #75430

    I just did the Anaerobic test modified to 20m on a stair mill(I read or heard somewhere that 20m was OK for newer trainees)

    I did a 15m warmup and took a quick break(2-3 minutes) to have a drink and then did 20m at an 8/10 effort. I am pleasantly surprised that breathing and not quad burn seemed like my limiting factor so maybe my muscular endurance is OK. I bounced between L5/6 as one was a touch slow and the other a bit too fast to sustain for the full 20.

    Looking at the data I noticed that my HR slowly climbed for the first 6 minutes and then mostly leveled out. If I use the entire 20m my AnT=135 but if I just use the last 14m(after my HR ramped up) my AnT=139. Which should I use?

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