Hr zone confusion | Uphill Athlete

Hr zone confusion

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  • #26276

    Hi. I consider myself a mid level runner/skimo individual. Last year i trained about 450 hrs, and this year I am already at 450 with about 5 months remaining. I have also done about 460,000 ft so far this year. I am confused because my lactate threshold self administered test and performances do not correlate with an HR drift test, or with my MAF number. My max 1 hr hr is 180, (max 90min is 171, but recording during a 4 hr race) using my max sustainable 1 hour hr as Lactate threshold, or the gap between z3/z4 makes sense to me, as near but below 180 feels like how ive always been taught to train at “tempo.” My last vertical k time going at 180 bpm was 46mins. Where my confusion lies is estimating my AeT. Using an HR drift on a random somewhat steady 1 hr flat effort that had a drift of 4.97% (it was 30 mins out 30 back and had some z2 effort surges in it on the back half) yielded an average hr of 153. However, my MAF number is 155 and the book says that is usually actually low. Also, because i can hold my lactate threshold for 1hr, that would indicate, at least according to the book, that I am “well trained” and unlikely to be aerobic deficient. My max HR recorded during the equivalent of a 5k effort, was 210 for 5 seconds. It just seems odd to me that my true z3 would then range from 153, all the way to 180. It is also worth mentioning i live right next to mountains and really never run flats (unsure if that would skew my flat hr drift test). When going at 3300ft/hr my hr is in mid 150s and the effort still is perceived as easy. If using ventilatory as an indicator, the top of my zone 2 (aet) is in the mid to high 160s (i (have been using 168 as top of z2/aet prior to reading about hr drift). Using ventilatory my zones make alot more sense, as I can operate in the 160s average without eating for several hours, indicating that I am still primarily fat burning (according to my understanding). Plus the feel of a tempo is also certainly between 170-180, and ive been endurance training for about 17 years. Plus wouldnt it theoretically be impossible to hold tempo pace for over 10 hrs? (If using lower number of 153, then ive done several “tempo/z3 runs” for that length of time, which makes no sense.

    I do plan on getting a gas exchange test soon and dont feel like bothering with blood lactate self measuring. What are your thoughts? Seems to me that even the top of my zone 2 should be around 165-168. I can also do many days back of back and not feel depleted training with usual average hrs of mid to high 150s (many several minute dips into 160s) and without eating during training. Is it possible to sustain an hourr of lactate pace but be aerobically deficient? In any case, until i get a gas exchange test, what number would you advise that i use for my AET, 153, or 168? Sorry too, i read the book ad naseum and dug thru the forums but still confused about this one. Also forgot to mention that even with the number disparity, over 90% of time logged has been under at or under average hr of 153 because i was trying to avoid z2 (which i thought was around 158->168.)

  • Participant
    anthony.orkiolla on #26363

    Update: i again used the ventilatory test and it was almost precisely 168 bpm that I could no longer sustain nose breathing. Dipping into the 170s was almost instantly unsustainable. I did this test outside on a gentle uphill. Seeing as how I always avoid z2 anyway, and i can easily see how if I currently trained a lot from 158-168 bpm that it would be unsustainable and I would be better severed from more <158 training and then more defined z3 and 4, I think my zone 2 fits in almost spot on with both descriptions of the zone for well trained athletes and fits perfectly with the ventilatory threshold AeT test. I am going to ignore the HR drift test result until I get a Gas exchange test to verify. Still would welcome any advice. I think at this rate because my aet and lactate gap are very close I would be best served by incorporating more z3 and muscular endurance work.

    Anonymous on #26367

    Anyone doing a VK in 46 minutes is, by definition “very aerobically fit”. Your perception of effort is probably quite close to the metabolic response.

    Forget the MAF number. it is formula meant to fit a statistical average person. It is not going to be very accurate for someone like you. Your HR drift test should not be done on an out and back course unless you sure it dead flat. I agree that 153 seems too low and very unlikely.

    Your second test using ventilation is much more likely to be correct 168 AeT compared to 180 AnT is what I would expect for a well trained person like you.

    With that small spread I suggest you drop Z2 training and do most of your easy base work under about 155 and add more Z3-Z4 and even some ME work.


    anthony.orkiolla on #26378

    Thanks for the reply Scott, it is very helpful to know I am on the right track. I appreciate what you guys do! Thanks again, z3/4 and ME are on the menu!

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