How much Z3 a week is too much?

  • Creator
  • #72198
    Matthew Morriss

    I’ve been working through the moderate intensity Mtneering Training plan and realized after my second attempt at the HR drift test ( that I’ve got a pretty bad case of Aerobic Deficiency Syndrome (AET ~124 bpm). When I tested my ANT in the previous iteration of this training group over the summer, I got an ANT of ~177, so a big gap between the two still prolly exists.

    My AET is so low that ski touring (which I’m doing more of now that its winter) is solidly zone 3, the social runs I’ve been doing for years are definitely zone 3. Trying to do those activities in Z2 territory requires slowing to a fast hike for the runs and slow crawl for ski touring (basically a rest step), which is why I wanted to ask: how much z3 a week is too much?

    Clearly, I have spent a lot of time – years in all likelihood – developing my anaerobic capacity, and my goal now is to build my aerobic base and increase my AET. But I still want to get out ski touring and for my group runs… Perhaps this is a case where you can’t have your cake and eat it too, so curious for a % of hours per week that *could* be Z3 without being too detrimental to my aerobic capacity building goals. Maybe that answer is 0, but wanted to be sure to ask…

    Thanks for any insights and feedback,

  • Participant
    Shannon Phares on #72199

    Interested to hear response as I am in a similar situation as a runner.

    Arturo Bernal on #72217

    Im interested too in this question

    Cory from Wisconsin on #72220

    Having trouble linking the article, but you can search for the “Slow and Steady Is Boring. Is It Necessary?” article on UA by Scott Semple. It basically says that 90 percent of your training volume should be at or below AeT and only once you have some fundamentals in place should you start adding intensity. Mind you, this is coming from a competitive athlete and your goals may differ, but its probably worth asking yourself what your goals are and if they trump periodic ski tour with friends. Each person will answer differently – but there is a good chance that if you have ADS, your outing with friends will make it take longer to fix your ADS.

    Richard Abbott on #72227 < referenced by Cory

    I’m surprised that so much of your ski touring and social runs are Zone 3 though. My guess is you could probably make some minor changes and stay closer to or within Zone 2. It all depends on your goals and I’m not a coach, but with such clear ADS I’d probably try to stay below AeT the vast majority of the time until you’ve “closed the gap” a bit. I spent the better part of a year at very regular, almost exclusively sub-AeT efforts before I saw noticeable improvement in that area. (And a couple years on I think I can safely say I’ve kicked the ADS, too, so it was worth it.)

    Anonymous on #72232

    To dig into your original question I think the later part of this article is helpful

    When and How to Add High-Intensity Training: The 10 Percent Test

    For athletes that have a large gap between their AeT and Ant I generally recommend a base period of 100% sub AeT zone 1 and 2 work initially if their goals arent looming to near in the future. This will help close the gap the quickest of course and not prolong the issue. You’ll never be able to “pull” the AeT up from above but rather push it from below. That of course is easier said than done. I agree ski touring is particularly hard to keep it well down in Z2. Once you start reintroducing higher intensity work you should start with about 5% of your weekly volume by training time and most athletes can build up to 10%. For someone doing 10 hours of total aerobic training a week would then obviously be 30-60 min of total time at intensity. This could be a 1X per week tempo session or a couple of interval sessions.

    Matthew Morriss on #72277

    Thanks ya’ll for all the input. I went out for a Z2 last night with a friend and we made it a jog/walk, which was still fun and about all I can do with my AET. Gonna try to commit to low and slow activities from here on out.

    Question for Mark, should I be repeating my AET test on regular intervals as part of this training plan?

    Anonymous on #72298

    I actually don’t have folks do a formal test that often unless that are completely new to training. After the 12 week cycle makes sense for most folks and bear in mind you need to be reasonably rested to get really good data. Doing the test in the middle of a big training load will likely skew the test enough so as to not make it very useful.

    aaronnorlund on #72686


    I’m in the beginner level of the 12 week program. I have days (today for me) with Z3 intervals. I also am aerobically deficient (aet 140, ant 171, so 20%). Pedro alluded to this on zoom couples weeks ago, but should I just make these Z3 cardio days all z2 until my ADS is resolved? This is also what I would infer from the article linked above.


    Anonymous on #72759

    Aaron, If your goals are not in the near future then I would say yes focus on the zone 1/2 work. If they’re close (less than 12-16 weeks) you may be better off doing a little intensity.

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