T Nation

Measure of Success for Conditioning?

What measures are you guys using?

Right now, I’m using resting heart rate, blood pressure, and my performance on hikes.

So far I have brought my resting heart rate down from mid 70s to low 60s, but I’m really targeting 50s. My blood pressure is low normal, so I’m happy with that. My hikes have improved, but I’m still not pacing where I want to be: steady 3.5 mph for 12 miles with 2000+ feet of elevation gain.

Plan for May: Gonna target 15 miles over two days on the weekends with 3000+ feet of elevation gain at 8-12k feet. I just have to watch out for altitude sickness since I’ll be training at high altitude compared to living at 1k feet above sea level.

During the week, I’m doing cardio 4-5x doing everything from swimming, running, stairmaster, zumba, and elliptical. I’m also doing four hours of strength training throughout the week; mainly circuits of bodyweight stuff: push-ups, pull-ups, flutter kicks, and variation of lunges.

What are your goals? Any suggestions?

I live in Mammoth Lakes, CA at 8,000ft. I work for the Mammoth Track Club (elite running team) and get to see and expirience how and why they train the way they do. If you have any Altitude questions feel free to PM me.

For the most part you want to do your longer but slower distances at altitude (> 8000ft) and your very hard (rpe > 17) at a lower than 4500ft elevation, then go back to altitude to sleep and recover.

Continue doing what you are doing, train smart, eat well and sleep deep…killer D

My RHR is in the mid to low 40’s yet I can barely run a 5k in under 24 minutes. Conditioning is so subjective and in the end the only comparison you can make is between yourself today and yesterday.

Would V02 max and lung capcity be a good measure

Would have to get the vo2 max tested b/c as my RHR example my run time for the 12min or 1.5mile would only show a “fair” level.

Let me throw out another one.

What’s your target heart rate at 10 minute mile, 9 minute mile, and 8 minute mile? Ideally, I’d like to get mine staying under 145, but I have a lot of work to do. So while I want an efficient resting heart rate, I also want an efficient active heart rate for lack of a better term. To achieve this, I’m experimenting with low intensity interval training again, but instead of running for only a half hour, I’ve switched to running for an hour. I’ll try this for two months and see how it turns out.

Conditioning is as specific as bodybuilding, which is why Lance had a hard time switching to Marathon training. I say this to say why worry about your heart rate? why not just worry about doing it as fast/long as possible?

Heart Rate can be a good measure when comparing to yesterday or a week ago, but is not a pure measure of conditioning in reference to anything.

It’s a performance measure that I can track. How do you determine if your program is working? Gut?

I like to measure things and set goals. Then I can assess my program.

Distance running is all about maintaing HR out of the anaerobic zone and below the lactate threshold. Take advice like “run as fast as you can” and your better off just doing HIIT.

Heart rate is a poor measure of performance during steady state exercise. Regardless of ability, most people operate at ~90% of their max heart rate. The difference is that elite athletes have a higher max so in fact train with higher heart rate than average athletes.


[quote]roon12 wrote:
Heart rate is a poor measure of performance during steady state exercise. Regardless of ability, most people operate at ~90% of their max heart rate. The difference is that elite athletes have a higher max so in fact train with higher heart rate than average athletes.


http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7799772[/quote]

Those studies don’t have significant samples sizes to draw any conclusions from. The first study used eight people. And the second one used seven. How can I draw any conclusion from sample sizes that small?

So what measures should we use? It’s not productive to the conversation to just throw out poorly sampled studies and say a measure isn’t any good if you’re not also providing a good alternative.

[quote]tweaker wrote:

[quote]roon12 wrote:
Heart rate is a poor measure of performance during steady state exercise. Regardless of ability, most people operate at ~90% of their max heart rate. The difference is that elite athletes have a higher max so in fact train with higher heart rate than average athletes.


http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7799772[/quote]

Those studies don’t have significant samples sizes to draw any conclusions from. The first study used eight people. And the second one used seven. How can I draw any conclusion from sample sizes that small?

So what measures should we use? It’s not productive to the conversation to just throw out poorly sampled studies and say a measure isn’t any good if you’re not also providing a good alternative.
[/quote]

Large scale studies in this area are just not performed, as they have little use to most. Obviously measures depend on specificity, but from your first post you seem to be concerned with high altitude distance work.

For testing aerobic endurance, the Cooper Test is not a bad measure. It involves running max distance in 12 minutes on a track, then an estimate of VO2 max is calculated by

VO2max = (distance covered - 504.9) / 44.73

Resting heart rate is also not bad, but only for measuring changes, ie only compare with your own previous heart rate.

The ‘Running-based Anaerobic Sprint Test’ is similar to the cycling Wingate Test but applied to runners. It involves 6x35m timed sprints with 10s rest and then power output and fatigue index can be calculated.

For one you’'re drawing coclusions that were not addressed in the first study and the second was totally unrelated to your assertion. They’re worthless in their own right.

[quote]JRT6 wrote:
For one you’'re drawing coclusions that were not addressed in the first study and the second was totally unrelated to your assertion. They’re worthless in their own right.[/quote]

Mind expanding on this?

The first study measured the elite athletes max heart rate as higher, then showed that during the race, average %HRmax was ~90%. Ergo the elite runners had a higher heart rate.
This would seem to suggest that a lower heart rate while running is not a measure of success.

The second study supports the ~90% HRmax in cyclists over shorter distances in individual races. For much longer races this is decreased, but notes that this may be due to the group mentality of cyclists, ie. they were only going as fast as they needed to, not all out.