Aerobic Capacity Calculator with RHR

Aerobic Efficiency Test Instructions for Trek, Trail, or Mountain Athletes

This test and calculator are designed to help you understand your aerobic efficiency, which is crucial for long-duration activities such as trekking, trail running, or mountain climbing. The test can be adapted for running, biking, rowing, or any steady-state cardiovascular activity if running is not practical for you.

Preparing for the Test

Equipment Needed:

A treadmill, bike, rowing machine, or a safe and measurable outdoor route if running or cycling outdoors.

A heart rate monitor or a smartwatch capable of recording heart rate.

A means to track time (usually integrated into your heart rate monitor or smartwatch).

A means to track pace/speed/power (either your watch, or if rowing or bike: your wattage/rpm/speed)

Resting Heart Rate (RHR):

Measure your RHR first thing in the morning, while still in bed, on at least 2-3 different days to get an average.

Ensure you are fully rested and not under the influence of caffeine or stress.

Choose Your Modality:

Running, biking, or rowing are all acceptable. Choose the modality that best fits your training needs and physical condition.

Conducting the Test


Perform a 15-minute warm-up at a very easy pace. Your heart rate should be well below your estimated aerobic threshold.

Test Duration:

After warming up, continue your chosen activity for 60 minutes at a steady, moderate pace. Aim for an effort level where you can speak in short sentences. This should be in your Zone 2 or just below your aerobic threshold.

Your power/pace/speed is the control for this test. It is crucial that from the start of the test your pace/power/speed remains the same for the duration of the test, if your pace/power/speed drops off or has much variance you must re-test.

Monitoring Heart Rate:

Begin recording your heart rate as soon as the 60-minute test starts. Note your heart rate at the 30-minute mark and again at the 60-minute mark.

Cool Down:

Follow the test with a 10-15 minute cool-down at an easy pace.

Using the Calculator

Enter Your Data:

Input your age, RHR, heart rate at the 30-minute mark, and heart rate at the 60-minute mark into the calculator.

Calculate and Interpret:

The calculator will provide you with your cardiac drift and categorize your aerobic efficiency as High (Advanced), Moderate (Intermediate), or Low (Poor).

Notes for Athletes

Modality Adaptations: Running should be controlled in an environment where you won’t have to slow down or stop. Either a flat track with no road crossings or a treadmill.

If running is not practical, you can perform this test on a bike, rowing machine, or any other equipment that allows for consistent, measurable effort. Remember YOU MUST Ensure the effort level remains consistent across the test.

Importance of RHR: Including your RHR in the calculation provides a more personalized insight into your fitness level and helps in planning your training zones more accurately. Application: Use the results to tailor your training plans. High aerobic efficiency indicates a strong aerobic base, while lower efficiency suggests a need for more focused aerobic training.


This test, along with the calculator, offers a practical way to measure and understand your aerobic efficiency, crucial for endurance activities. Regular testing can help track improvements over time and adjust training intensity levels for optimal performance and endurance building.