Large increase in my Aerobic Threshold. Is this normal?

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  • #61789
    Justin Jones

    So I had a stretch over the Christmas holiday where I was down with an illness for about a week. Couldn’t train, had to rest. Took last week as a down shift/rest week, doing the more low end workouts to ease back into training. This week I started doing the training I had done a week or so prior to when I got sick as part of getting back to speed. But I also wanted to redo my Anaerobic and Aerobic Threshold tests to dial in my zones as I’m 8 week from an expedition on Orizaba and wanted my training leading up to that as accurate as possible.

    Tuesday I redid the Anaerobic Threshold test and came out with a HR of 176 which was about where the prior test had said it should be. So I left that number alone in Training Peaks. Then I took a couple easy days, mostly focused on recovering from that workout and today did the Aerobic Threshold Test.

    I came in expecting that the number probably would have moved as I’ve felt stronger and more capable during the process of this program. My Aet HR coming in was 146, so I aimed to start at 150, but incidentally actually started around 158. I decided to let it ride and see what happened.

    Looking at the data on Training Peaks, My average HR for the first half was 162 and the second half was 170, and then I divided 170 by 162 which came out to 1.049, or a drift of 4.9% which would seem to be within the tests desired range. This would mean my new Aerobic Threshold HR would be 158, a jump of 12bpm.

    That seems high… Is this possible? Normal?

    I also divided the Anaerobic Threshold HR of 176 by the Aerobic Threshold HR of 158 and came out with 1.1139 or a difference between the 2 of 11.39% which is close to what you guys said is desirable.

    Should I go with this new HR moving forward? I felt completely fine during both test. In control. Coming off the treadmill today my breathing returned to a resting state within less than 30 second after stepping off. I just want to work within the right HRs as I make this push towards the expedition. Thanks.

  • Participant
    Justin Jones on #61790

    I should point out, when I did the Aerobic Threshold test that came out with a number of 146 my drift percentage was barely high enough to qualify for a successful test. So I may have been operating on a low Aet HR.

    MarkPostle on #62050

    Justin- sorry I missed this post earlier so just getting back to it. My guess is the truth lies somewhere in the middle, and that you have probably increased your aerobic threshold a bit over the training and you also probably under shot it a little initially if it was right at 3%. 158 is definitely higher than we see with most folks but depending on your physiology and training history is a believable number. My advice moving forward based on your new aerobic threshold test is to try the zone 2 training between 150 and 155 bpm and see how that affects you. If it feels very sustainable day to day and you’re recovering well then carry on. If you were feeling a bit beat down after some of those sessions then you might wanna ratchet it back into the 140s for the zone 2 work. One important thing to remember is you don’t have to train right up against the ceiling of your zone 2 in order to get the desired effect. For most folks it’s better to under shoot it just a bit than to overshoot it and be training in the ZIP Code that is primarily carb burning and not going to be that useful to them at altitude. Hope that helps and feel free to hit me up with any additional questions!

    Justin Jones on #62104

    Thanks Mark. Yeah I suspected it was probably a combination of the 2. For reference, I was a utility meter reader for 7 years up. We hiked on average 13 miles a day, every day of the week at what was probably a zone 2 pace now that I look back on it. So I inadvertently was kind of doing similar workloads to you guys training years ago. So perhaps that has aided my adaptation to the training.

    I’ve also worked with a personal trainer for 4 years now and I’ve had a history working on muscle endurance with her. Plus I was doing ruck marches as part of my prep in the past. So a lot of the stuff You guys have laid out for me has been familiar.

    As far as the heart rate I always try to aim for the middle of the zone so I have room for it to go up and down a bit and still stay within the zone as often as possible. The only time I’d try to run towards the top is if I’m on a treadmill and can watch the pace with precision. But so far the 150s have felt just fine! I’m also trying to give myself as much rest each night as possible.

    Anyway. Thanks again!

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