Thanks for writing in about this question. Maffetone is right and Maffetone is wrong. Here’s why.
He’s right that doing anaerobic endurance training will be counterproductive to curing ADS. That is because extensive aerobic work (say 10x400m running repeats at 5km race pace or 30min steady uphill with HR at your personal AnT/LT) will have a very powerful training stimulus on the glycolytic metabolic pathway. That stimulus will also down regulate the signaling that causes aerobic adaptation (primarily the pathway known as AMPK that causes an increase in mitochondria. So, stay away from extensive (longer than 10-15 sec) work above your AnT/LT during the aerobic base build phase if you have ADS.
He’s also right that doing some forms of strength training fires up a completely different signaling pathway called mTOR. mTOR and AMPK tend to counteract each other’s effect. Doing a long run on the heels of a strength workout seems to down regulate the mTOR path. This is why body builders do not do extensive aerobic work. It would make the smaller. The opposite seems also to be true. These things are debated in sports science but the results seem to indicate these effects.
But……. lots of endurance athletes use strength training as key part of their training. So, in practice there is probably a balance that needs to be attained. Clearly, doing either body building type strength training where the whole point is hypertrophy (caused by mTOR) or doing muscular endurance training sessions during the aerobic base building period will probably have a pretty big negative impact on curing ADS. This is why we advocate the approach to strength training we do in print and on this site. We eschew body building methods entirely and we use the ME workout late in the programs we design.
Where I think Maffetone (who opened my eye to ADS in a personal discussion in 1983) might come across as too dogmatic about this topic is that all endurance athletes we have dealt with seem to benefit from some strength training. We recommend a “general conditioning” sort of strength training in the early stages and then moving to a max strength phase where the training effect is largely neurologic. Endurance athletes need some forms of strength training, at the very least, for injury prevention. Keep in mind that “strength training” can take place in a gym (the simplest, safest and easiest to regulate and progress but also tends to be more general and less event specific) or it can take place on your local steep hill with hill sprints which is a more sport specific form than can be accomplished in the gym. We favor an approach that first builds General Strength before moving to the more Event Specific.
As an aging athlete you face a bigger challenge than the youngsters. You are losing strength so need to do something to maintain if not increase it. I work with a lot of middle aged mountain athletes who benefit from regular strength training. We proscribe general strength for even our most basic coached clients with severe ADS and have seen great results.
I recommend that you include 2 appropriate (Non-Bodybuilding or ME format) workouts into your plan.