How long before you noticed progress on your aerobic base/AeT?

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  • #53168

    I learned that I’m a textbook case of ADS when I read Uphill Athlete a few months ago. I completely changed my routine to 2-3 strength workouts per week and only running in Z2. Z2 for me is agonizingly slow – 14-15 mins/mile right now so basically jogging and walking. My Z2 pace has only improved marginally in the last 2 months and I’m just so frustrated by the slow pace. Physically, I feel good. I don’t feel tired and I’m not struggling to recover for the next day’s training, but I just can’t seem to make any progress in going faster without jumping into Z3. It’s really disheartening and I’m just trying to figure out roughly when I can expect to see some progress.

    For others with ADS – how long did it take you to actually build into a normal running pace for your Z2 runs?

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    russes011 on #53172

    How did you determine the top of your Z2: AeT drift test, nose breathing AeT test, MAF, or 75% of maxHR?

    (As an aside, I would simply suggest jogging on flat or gently rolling terrain for say 2-3 months at about a 10min/mile pace, 3x per week, working one’s way (quickly or slowly) from 20min to 60min per jog. I would finish each jog with about 4x10sec uphill sprints. You can record your HR if you want for these jogs, but I wouldn’t adjust my pace to target a certain HR–it should just feel moderate/medium in effort. Then after about 2-3 months, I would test and apply specific heart rate zone training zones, and begin a training program if you want. This approach allows for a certain baseline of fitness, running economy, habit formation, enjoyment, injury resilience, and anaerobic power–all to be developed without any significant risk of overtraining. A simple strength program could also be performed simultaneously–anything from the NY Times 9min work-out to the UA general strength routine would be fine depending on your time and goals. A weekly half-day hike would be great too.)

    just my opinion of course,


    Shashi on #53174


    Welcome to the Uphill Athlete forum.

    The timeline will depend on your training. Check this forum discussion –

    Fixing Aerobic Deficiency general timeline? tips?

    It took me about 2-3 months with about 3-4 hours of aerobic volume every week to go from jog/walk to run pace.

    Anonymous on #53188

    I started this on March 2nd with severe ADS. It was painfully slow to start with (walking most of the time) and now roughly 6 weeks later I can run 10+ miles under the AeT that I tested at a local high school track at the start and then 4 weeks later.

    My observation so far has been that it is hard mentally but mostly due to ego, but it DOES work. Not sure exactly what it is supposed to look like but at this point what I have noticed is that at the exact same HR (AeT) I shaved about 1:00/mi off of my pace from where I started. Not sure if eventually the AeT HR will go up or if the pace just gets faster.

    Does anyone know the expected result? My thought would be that the HR is relatively fixed but the work you can do at that HR gets higher. Which is what I have seen now meaning, no change in HR but a marked increase in pace.

    Anonymous on #53197

    Thank you for the guidance, Steve! I’ll give the hill sprints a try. I used the MAF test to get a baseline idea of where my Z2 would be and then used nasal breathing to compare. Nasal breathing allowed me to go a few bpm faster than the MAF test but not by much.

    Anonymous on #53198

    That link to a previous post on timelines is really helpful! It sounds like I need to really increase my volume to see results in the timeline I am hoping for. Thanks for the link!

    Anonymous on #53530

    @russes011: What are you basing your recommendations on?

    GuillaumeM on #53573

    Hi Lorin,

    I did the same conclusion last year about me being eligible to ADS.
    Anyway. When I started last year (May), I too used MAF – 5 bpm because I couldn’t do any drift test. Turns out it was a very slow pace too, indeed. I bet some people were walking faster than I was “running”. But I put my mindset as : ok I am slow but that’s for the best for the future.
    So I can tell you because I just checked out that I too was at a pace of 15min/mile. I did a new test after 4 month with a real drift test. Turns out my AeT was Higher and my pace increased.
    Last march, my last AeT Drift Test, I run at 10:50min/mile. It is what it is. I think it’s not fast, but, it’s faster than it was last may. And my AeT is now 158 and I started at 135. I did an AeT Test every other months (after the first 4 month). Just to check out and AeT would increase each time.
    On my side I got rid of ADS because my AnT is at 171. I will do a new test within two weeks to check out my AeT and be sure of it so that I can now switch to other types of workouts.
    So… all of this to say : yeah, it can be slow, yeah it’s frustrating, but in the “long” run, you’ll enjoy it I guess. I find it fun to see myself improving after a few weeks.
    I don’t think there is a “normal” running pace… I have got a friend who’s been running for 25 years, and his normal pace is way faster than mine.
    I started running 4 years ago, but the first 2 years I was unaware of ADS. So I ran fast at high BPM. Now, I ran almost as fast but within my aerobic capacity. And it feels easy.
    Take your time.

    russes011 on #53595


    My recommendation is mostly based on the current “American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids”. Although not very specific for athletes per se, the recommendations are evidence based, and IMO can be a good few month intro to exercise prior to starting more systematic training, especially when one cannot reliably run/jog on flat terrain in Z2. My recommendations are also based on my reading of a few popular books regarding endurance and strength training, including Run Faster, The Science of Running, and the UA books; as well as the Exercise Physiology reference book by Powers and Howley.


    Please understand that my earlier post is just my opinion, and I would defer to the moderators, or your coach, if you have one, regarding specific and individualized recommendations.

    Reed on #53777

    Hi Lorin and russes011 – those sound like fine sources for general exercise guidance. In reading this thread, I would worry about recommending hill sprints to athletes who are struggling to run aerobically at a 15min/mi pace. I wonder whether there’s enough leg and torso strength, stability, alignment, etc. If you sprint with your knees and ankles out of whack, or insufficient tendon / ligament strength, you run the risk of the classic middle-aged guy tearing his ACL on the basketball court scenario.

    If MAF or nose breathing tests suggest walking – then stick with it for a few months and see how it goes. Maybe take some yoga classes or try some lunges. Simple controllable movements. And I highly recommend Scott’s Killer Core routine a couple of times per week for a few months at least.

    juskojj on #53926

    I started with an AeT of around 137 and it took me around 6 months to get to around 163, My AnT last time I checked it was 186. My pace went from around 16min miles down to around 10min miles if not below all in Z2. It takes time and is agonizing slow watching the improvements but it’ll come and it’s worth it! I’m so close to being with in 10% I just want to be there so I can get into Z3 workouts but I also know zone 1 might be slowish but still runable 🙂

    Anonymous on #55297

    Something that should probably also be emphasized is that that super easy training never goes away. It will get faster, but it’s always necessary. And especially once your anaerobic and aerobic speeds become fast enough to be stressful, the easy paces need to get even easier to compensate.

    Most of an iceberg is below the water.

    Zach.jin on #56552

    Hi all, I wanted to talk about the HUGE success I’ve had in combatting my ADS. It has been a SLOW journey but I’ve fully committed to the process and the results are starting to come through:
    I am 34 with a moderate training background. I am now in the final week of Mike Foote’s Big Vert training plan with my event next week. My AnT is 185 and AeT is now 140 (maybe better?). So I still have bad ADS.

    Here’s the amazing part. When I started the training cycle, I was running 10:30 or so miles and had an AeT of 135. I retested a couple months ago and found my AeT had increased to 140. I can now complete my one hour Z2 easy workouts at an 8:30 pace. I find that truly amazing to have built so much speed at the same level of effort.

    It has not been easy. A big part of this has been letting go of my ego. I watch children and out of shape people jog by me some days, especially at the end of my long runs. I have only one voice I pay attention to and it’s my heartrate strap. I’ve learned not to care about other people. I have bigger dreams and goals and sticking to the plan is getting me there.

    I hope this is motivating for people who are slow like me. The results will come. Stick to the plan!

    Shashi on #56553

    Zach – Thank you for sharing your experience and progress. Great job!

    Anonymous on #56615


    Can you please give us some idea of your normal weekly Z2 running volume to see this sort of improvement in 6 months?


    Zach.jin on #56616

    I did only 4.58 hours on average over the past 20 weeks. Looking at my totals though over the last 180 days, I did 102 hours of Z2 (3.9h/ week) and 115 hours of Z1 (4.42h / week). 
    I was probably in a good place to make big progress coming off of a big covid-lockdown induced slump. My fitness was very poor starting this cycle and I’m now in top form for me.

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