Unusual AeT Results and HR Zones for a First Time Trainee | Uphill Athlete

Unusual AeT Results and HR Zones for a First Time Trainee

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  • #48338

    After almost 3 years of leafing through TftNA, I committed to starting a structured training program to finally be able to confidently reach my climbing goals.

    I ran the AeT heart rate drift test (twice), and can’t make sense of my results. At a steady jog at the top of my conversational breath, just over nose breathing, and on flat ground for 60 minutes, my HR drift was about .5% and my HR was…168! I was pretty surprised that I would need to actually increase my HR above 168 to hit AeT. I retested and obtained a 3.0% drift at 171. (Using a chest HRM and Training Peaks.)

    171 seems extremely high or unusual for AeT, at least from the book and the posts I’ve read on this forum. Is it? Should I be worried? Am I in far worse shape than I thought? Since I’m 34, I have read that my max HR should be about 186, which puts a 171 AeT at 92% max HR! I know the max HR approximation is just that, but I’m concerned that my AeT and AnT are so close and afford me a very narrow window for my zones. I’m 5’ 7” and 151lbs, if that’s of any use.

    Of greater concern is that if the top of my Z2 is 171, my Z3-Z5 (at least on Training Peaks) are now in a range which seems possibly unsafe? My wrist HR has recorded some max HRs in the 200-205 range while running uphill a few months ago, but I don’t know if I should trust those numbers given it’s not a reliable method for measuring HR (since I started using a chest HRM, my max HR on the same run is about a 193, but I haven’t been exerting myself as much as I was a few months ago).

    I don’t consider myself in good aerobic shape at all, and these numbers leave me a little uncertain in structuring my program.

    A little more background: I don’t have much of a record with disciplined workout routines, in general. So to start improving my climbing fitness, I had been working out diligently (about 6 hours a week) since the beginning of summer 2020, Sun/Tue/Thu I would run out and back about 3 miles to the top of a nearby hill, about 750 feet of elevation gain. Mon/Wed/Fri, I would do a mostly bodyweight strength routine. I tracked my progress in each, including with a wrist HRM, which was never terribly accurate, but was enough for my informal purposes. 

    I wasn’t in bad shape when I started, but not in good shape either. Although reasonably strong (despite avoiding core workouts) on a pound-for-pound basis, my aerobic fitness was my weakest area; I thought that since I sweat like an exposed mob rat and my heart rate is fast to quicken, my assumption was that my aerobic fitness was lousy and needed a lot of work.

    My fitness has definitely improved since I started working out regularly, but as I shift into a training program using HR zones, I want to be sure I’m not missing something really fundamental to training or wasting effort doing something wrong.

    I’m 35/M/151lbs/5’7”

    I apologize if I may have missed any etiquette or norms, it’s my first time using the forum.

  • Participant
    Dada on #48342

    Hi Mishary,

    What’s your AnT? Unless we don’t know your AnT we can’t distinguish whether you tested your AeT or AnT.

    Best regards

    Rachel on #48344

    What Dada said, you definitely need to do an AnT test. Also, you might have a higher than average max HR

    Mishary on #48353

    It probably would’ve been wise to include the AnT test results in my original post!

    My AnT test was 183.

    Reed on #48359

    183 AnT / 171 AeT = 7% difference, which suggests a decent aerobic capacity without a big deficit to make up (i.e., no aerobic deficiency syndrome). Heart rates vary widely from individual to individual. As an example, my aerobic threshold heart rate is about 183, anaerobic threshold is about 196, and the maximum heart rate I’ve ever recorded is about 208bpm. Doesn’t mean I’m especially fit or unfit, though. Your pace at these physiological markers is much more important – going from where you are now, where a “steady jog” (9-10 minute / mile pace?) at AeT turns into a fast pace while still at AeT…

    Mishary on #48362

    Thanks, Reed! That’s a lot of help. I kept reading about people with thresholds in the 150’s and thought I might have a problem, but it sounds like my zones aren’t unreasonable and a fine place to start. Really, many thanks.

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