So which HR zone should I train in now?

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  • #37280

    Hi everyone!

    I did a lactate test last week (very fun!) and just had the follow-up appointment with the sports doc to talk about it. I’ve attached my results.

    And now I am confuuuuuuused and I hope you can help me sort through the weeds a bit. Basically I think that what the doctor was talking about training-wise and especially HR-zone wise differs from what you guys talk about… But let me explain. Sorry the document is in German (I live in Switzerland, so yeah – also I did not see any interesting person in Davos, the test was after the WEF…) so here’s a bit of a translation:

    The test was running, of course. I started at 7.2km/h. Each stage was 1.8km/h faster. Always 3min at a time. After a warm-up jog of 5min (at that speed of 7.2km/h) my HR was 119 (I was nervous) and lactate at 2.1mmol/l. (That’s the info in the upper left column next to the graph).
    The “DMax Modell” is basically my AnT (which is pretty much spot-on with the “ANS column next to it which is also AnT but calculated differently). I remember getting an almost identical result last winter when I did the “run uphill for at least 30min as hard as possible” AnT test (Mike Foote’s big vert training plan). All good there.

    Now you can see that I definitely still suffer big time from ADS which makes sense because I am coming from a life of being a couch potato and I’m only taking endurance sport more seriously since about 2017 and my training volume hasn’t been that well-tracked but definitely less than 500hrs/year.

    In the “Schwellen” category you see the “AS” column which would be AeT but it’s just been set at 2.0mmol/l lactate concentration… But considering mine seems to just be a bit higher than the norm in general (I did a failed lactate test on the bike a few weeks back and there, too, my baseline level was not below 2mmol/l) it seems a bit arbitrary to just stick it to this lactate concentration instead of focussing on the “1mmol/l higher than baseline level” which you talk about in the TftUA book. When I look at the graph with that in mind, I see my AeT more along that third blue point (between the yellow GA 2 and red WSA section). Referring to the “Trainingsbereiche” at the bottom of the sheet, this would put AeT roughly somewhere around 150 or a little more (this would correspond roughly to MAF because I am soon 27 so my MAF = 153bpm).
    Also, about a year ago I did the Heart Drift treadmill test and I had something like 145bpm as my AeT (although I was well within the allowed drift rate so I assume my AeT would have been even a tad higher). Additionally, whenever I try the good old “I can still carry on a discussion and breathe through my nose a little” a HR of around 150bpm is still possible. I cannot breathe through my nose for very long because it’s winter and my nose gets runny in the cold air and it’s a bit uncomfortable but it still feels easy.

    ANYWAY, now according to my test results my AeT is at like 132 so I should spend most of my training, according to the “Trainingsbereiche” section, in a zone from 129-137bpm… But to me this seems as if that would all be Zone 1 training?

    I know women can have higher bpm than men for the same relative effort (because our hearts and lungs are smaller so it needs to beat faster to pump the same amount of blood relative to a man’s heart which gets more done with one beat) so I dunno what gives here. I am a bit confused. Basically my guess is that Uphill Athlete training “ideology” here differs from what my sports doc told me… But yeah. What do you guys think?

    Or maybe I am just so radically unfit still and terribly slow! Little additional info, as said, I’m 27 soon, female, and my resting HR is around 39bpm.

    Apologies for rambling about so much, it’s hard to explain this all in a coherent, to-the-point fashion… At least for me.

    Wishing everyone a wonderful day!


  • Participant
    nullkru on #37282

    Hi Johanna,
    i can’t download the PDF, maybe you need to re-upload it without the special chars in the document name.

    If you really suffer from ADS (which i can’t belive, seeing what you do on strava) and the GAP between AnT and AeT is more than 10%. Then you should set top of Z2 to 130~ bpm and train below or at this value. Think u know this already.

    Before i start to guess:
    please fix the document link and ppl will help 🙂

    have a great afternoon — mirko

    wildmoser.j on #37283

    Hoiiiii Mirko, thanks for believing in my aerobic system 😀

    I have no idea how to edit my initial post soooo attaching the document with a new name to this one. I hope it works now!

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    Anonymous on #37301

    Thanks, Johanna. I think I understand most of this chart except for WSA. What does that stand for?

    wildmoser.j on #37310

    Hi Scott!

    So WSA stands for “Wettkampfspezifische Ausdauer” so “Race Specific Endurance” – that would be like Z3 (if the races one trains for are short enough to be completed staying in Z3, that is). In this case it’s just training vocabulary/methodology, the other training zones in that lower chart are Grundlagenausdauer 1 – Base endurance 1 (GA1), Grundlagenausdauer 1-2 – Base endurance 1-2 (GA1-2) and REKOM would be equivalent to the Recovery zone.

    wildmoser.j on #37838

    Hello again!

    Just giving a little, say, update/insight on what feels easy for me when training and how it looks like from an HR standpoint. Since it’s winter, my long days are spent skitouring because it’s obviously the most fun (for me at least).

    Yesterday was a good day, 20km loop with 1500m of vertical ascent, two summits, some good snow, some windpressed ice, sunshine, and feeling strong. I took my skinny light skis out to have less weight on the legs and move a bit faster.

    Here’s the workout on Training Peaks:

    I don’t think that one can see through this link the percentage/time spent in each HR zone (I currently have them set so that my AeT/top of Z2 sits at my MAF, 154bpm). I pause the watch during transitions/at the top of the mountain.

    I spent about 55min in Z3 (not on purpose but it kinda just happened, must have been from wanting to pass all the other people on the skin track early on…), 1h45min in Z1 and below, and the vast majority, 2h30min in Z2 (136-154bpm).

    To me this clearly means that an HR above what the doctor recommended to me is sustainable and feels easy for many hours. I have to add that I also only ate a single clif bar the entire tour and a part from really being hungry at the end, I didn’t experience anything close to “hitting the wall” from the combo of low glycogen/glucose availability + increased glucose utilization that comes at intensities above AeT.

    This seems to be one more pointer in the direction that my AeT is indeed sitting somewhere around the 145-150bpm range and not 132 like my lactate test stubbornly suggested. Looking at the graph of the test this would mean that my AeT is around 3mmol/l blood lactate concentration. Is this possible? It does fit with the “baseline concentration +1mmol/l” formula…

    Other than that, I have been trying to do my easy runs at an HR of less than 145bpm, most often I sit around 135-140 when it’s flat and it does feel good and my little gluteal/hamstring issues (am working on it with PT) seem to prefer this intensity much more than if I try to run at my suggested “MAF AeT” – I actually think that me suddenly running at this HR (between 150-154) too much and too often, even if aerobically totally doable, was too much for my connective tissues, tendons, etc because they are NOT used to that intensity. Heterochronism!

    nullkru on #37848

    Hi Johanna,

    i think i can’t help you that much, or let the experts here write an answer. Just some stuff i noticed in my training.
    I train with the UA approach since i’m “back” from my injury (Aug 19).
    After several tries i found my zones (AeT = 161bpm, AnT = 171bpm, no ADS). For the first couple of weeks it was easy to run almost all my normal runs on top of Z1 (~145bpm, which is almost my MAF HR). I was even making sure i don’t let it drop in the downhills (which at a sub 3:30-40 km/pace is a bit suicidal). As my weekly volume raised i noticed that some strange nagging stuff in my illiopsoas came back. When i run at Z1 top almost all the time.
    Since 3-4 weeks i just told myself it’s ok to spend the training duration anywhere in the Z1 range. In the downhills sometimes even a tat lower.
    My conclusion (and what you observed), just some beats lower/less intensity on normal runs made a huge jump in the healing of my illiopsoas “problem”. I even ran my biggest millage week (263km, 13km vert) with fewer problems than my “normal” previous weeks (130km-150km). Last week i did a run right at AeT for 50 min. Where i saw and felt a huge difference from previous runs at this intensity. It was “easy” and faster.

    What i try to say, don’t stick to hard on that numbers. As Scott says think about 5bpm buckets, we’re not machines. If the easier intensity feels better day to day and you maybe even can handle more volume -> i would go for it. Maybe you have that same “AHA” effect if you run your next hard workout.
    Btw.: did you try the HR drift test on a treadmill, to get your AeT?

    Still believing in your aerobic system ;)!
    have a great week — mirko

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