Detraining: How far can you fall?

Over three years of detraining, my anaerobic and aerobic threshold speeds have declined 23% and 26%, respectively. At a climb rate of 1,000 meters per hour, my heart rate has increased 37%. Detraining, age, altitude—and attitude—are all factors.

An image of my declining Performance Management Chart and a graph of my most recent lacate test
A glimpse of my declining Performance Management Chart and my lactate test in April 2022

Back in February 2019, I did a lactate test and hit a personal record in climb rates1 at my anaerobic and aerobic thresholds. A month later, I succeeded in my goal to not DFL2 at the ISMF World Championships in Switzerland. I finished the season 6th in Canada overall.

But today, I'm in a very different position. Three years is several generations in the short life of mitochondria. I'm near-sedentary, and my fitness has fallen off a cliff.

How far has my fitness fallen? On a recent trip home to Canmore, Alberta, I fired up my NordicTrack incline trainer, calibrated the crappy accuracy out of it, and did a lactate test.