Training effects on aerobic threshold

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  • #6490

    Is HR at aerobic threshold a good indicator of aerobic base fitness? If so, should I expect to see a change my HR at aerobic threshold after a period of training? Or is this, like VO2Max, more determined by genetics? I’ve been using TFtNA concepts avidly for the past year, and casually for a year or so prior. I’d like to have a way to see objectively whether I’m increasing my aerobic base, or if I’ve been spending from my aerobic bank as quickly as I make deposits. Thank you for any advice you can offer.

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    Anonymous on #6493


    Both pace and HR at an individual’s AeT are the best ways to measure basic aerobic fitness out side of a lab. This quality is extremely “trainable” as opposed to maxVO2 which is what’s called a “first wave response”. maxVO2 responds to training very rapidly in the young or untrained individuals but response to training diminished with training history. Athletes with a long training history will most likely have reached their genetic limit for maximal oxygen uptake after a few years of training. Luckily, maxVO2 is only one of several physiological components that determine one’s endurance performance and does not have as strong a correlation with endurance as do Lactate (Anaerobic Threshold) or Economy, both of which are much more trainable.

    A small digression:

    The aerobic base, as measured by the AeT provides a critical base of support for endurance especially as determined by ones Lactate/Anaerobic Threshold. Improve AnT when you have a low AeT and you are overlooking some easy endurance gains. Raise AeT and you will be able to raise AnT even higher.

    Back to your question:

    Find a place you can return to frequently and conduct your own personal AeT time trial/test there every few weeks. Maybe this a local trail or long hill you can run/hike up at your AeT HR for 30-45min or even longer. Hold the HR to this AeT limit and time yourself. Come back in a few weeks when you are in the same state of rest/fatigue and repeat this test. You’ll see the time improve over a long time scale. Since this is a low intensity test you can do it as part of a regular running circuit and do not need to treat like a more taxing high intensity time trial. Over the course of weeks and months you will see the time drop for the course. You should also notice a decrease in perceived effort (lower respiration rate). Voila: Your basic aerobic capacity is improving. At this same time the AeT HR will move up. You can use a ventilatory test like nose breathing or conversational pace to see that the AeT HR is not a bit higher. To really nail down the new AeT HR takes a lab test or a field blood lactate test.

    To help inform your training, do an AnT test as described here: and see what the spread is between AeT and AnT. Greater than 10% in terms of HR? Then you still need more aerobic base work. Less than 10% then you’d benefit from adding more high intensity.


    Pete on #8190


    I was wondering what your suggestion is for repeating the Treshold HR test, so the new value could be used in Training Peaks? Every month? Every two months? Before the start of a new phase of training?

    Would appreciate your thoughts on this.


    Best, Peter

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