Blog post by Marco Altini
What's aerobic efficiency again?
Aerobic efficiency relates to your ability to sustain a given workload. Good endurance athletes tend to have high aerobic endurance, meaning that they can sustain a relatively high workload (for example pace or power), at a relatively low effort (typically measured in terms of heart rate).
To determine your aerobic efficiency we compute the relation between output (pace or power) and input (heart rate). Intuitively, a lower heart rate for the same output (pace or power), when consistently shown over periods of weeks, translates into better aerobic efficiency.
Similarly, a higher power or faster pace at the same heart rate is linked to improved aerobic efficiency. By analyzing the relationship between input and output for running or cycling activities, you can easily track aerobic efficiency changes over time, as you progress with your training.
You can do so in HRV4Training Pro, under Insights / Aerobic endurance.
How can you use this feature?
The aerobic efficiency feature in HRV4Training Pro can help you better understand if your training is progressing well, without the need for specific testing. As you go for example from the off season to your base (or other) training phase, you should see your aerobic efficiency improve as your pace gets a bit quicker at a given heart rate for example.
Similarly, you could use aerobic efficiency to capture your response to environmental factors such as a training camp at altitude. During my research I have used exactly this principle for example to determine which athletes have or have not adapted to a training camp at altitude, based on their aerobic efficiency getting back to pre-camp values, or failing to do so (you can learn more here).
Running on a treadmill
Running on a treadmill is different from running outside. Forces are reduced, ventilation is most likely poor, your stride might be a bit shorter, etc.
Additionally, the hardware and software we use to track treadmill workouts and upload them to Strava or TrainingPeaks might estimate our pace with a certain degree of error. As a result, the relationship between heart rate and pace differs from outdoor running, to a point that it can create artifacts in our aerobic efficiency analysis.
For these reasons, we added a new control in the aerobic efficiency analysis in HRV4Training Pro, to let you filter out workouts with zero elevation gain reported, which is typical of treadmill workouts.
Giving you more control
Below is an example of how this new filter works. First, you can configure your control panel to include mostly aerobic workouts based on duration and heart rate ranges, as well as environmental factors (temperature, altitude, etc.):
As you can see the control panel allows you also to filter out by elevation gain, which can be helpful if you run on trails from time to time, which typically provides data which is not particularly useful in the context of determining aerobic efficiency, due to the many variables involved (e.g. different terrains).
In this example, we had issues first due to an inaccurate footpod, and secondly due to either an overcorrection or simply the fact that as mentioned earlier, the relationship between heart rate and pace differs indoor:
This is something that can be now filtered out, using the "zero elevation" button:
Which gets us this:
As you can see the data now better reflects aerobic efficiency for this athlete, without artifacts created by running from time to time on a treadmill.
We hope you'll enjoy the new feature. Use code SCIENCE for 15% off any plan at HRV4T.com
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This blog is curated by
Marco Altini, founder of HRV4Training
The Ultimate Guide to HRV
1: Measurement setup
2: Interpreting your data
3: Case studies and practical examples
1. Intro to HRV
2. How to use HRV, the basics
3. HRV guided training
4. HRV and training load
5. HRV, strength & power
6. Overview in HRV4Training Pro
7. HRV in team sports
1. Context & Time of the Day
3. Paced breathing
4. Orthostatic Test
5. Slides HRV overview
6. Normal values and historical data
1a. Acute Changes in HRV
1b. Acute Changes in HRV (population level)
1c. Acute Changes in HRV & measurement consistency
1d. Acute Changes in HRV in endurance and power sports
2a. Interpreting HRV Trends
2b. HRV Baseline Trends & CV
3. Tags & Correlations
4. Ectopic beats & motion artifacts
5. HRV4Training Insights
6. HRV4Training & Sports Science
7. HRV & fitness / training load
8. HRV & performance
9. VO2max models
10. Repeated HRV measurements
11. VO2max and performance
12. HR, HRV and performance
13. Training intensity & performance
14. Publication: VO2max & running performance
15. Estimating running performance
16. Coefficient of Variation
17. More on CV and the big picture
18. Case study marathon training
19. Case study injury and lifestyle stress
20. HRV and menstrual cycle
21. Cardiac decoupling
22. FTP, lactate threshold, half and full marathon time estimates
23. Training Monotony
Camera & Sensors
1. ECG vs Polar & Mio Alpha
2a. Camera vs Polar
2b. Camera vs Polar iOS10
2c. iPhone 7+ vs Polar
2d. Comparison of PPG sensors
3. Camera measurement guidelines
4. Validation paper
5. Android camera vs Chest strap
6. Scosche Rhythm24
7. Apple Watch
9. Samsung Galaxy
1. Features and Recovery Points
2. Daily advice
3. HRV4Training insights
4. Sleep tracking
5. Training load analysis
6a. Integration with Strava
6b. Integration with TrainingPeaks
6c. Integration with SportTracks
6d. Integration with Genetrainer
6e. Integration with Apple Health
6f. Integration with Todays Plan
7. Acute HRV changes by sport
8. Remote tags in HRV4T Coach
9. VO2max Estimation
10. Acute stressors analysis
11. Training Polarization
12. Lactate Threshold Estimation
13. Functional Threshold Power(FTP) Estimation for cyclists
14. Aerobic Endurance analysis
15. Intervals Analysis
16. Training Planning
17. Integration with Oura
18. Aerobic efficiency and cardiac decoupling
1. HRV normal values
2. HRV normalization by HR
3. HRV 101