How slow is too slow?

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  • #3980

    Though aerobic/lactate threshold seems pretty slow/low (at my 122 HR) when touring or hiking uphill, I am now converted and attend the church of aerobic threshold training….but for instance walking the dog, strolling with the spouse, even long walks….how low (obviously “recovery” occasionally is fine) below aerobic threshold is not helpful “enough” for training? Is an hour walk in the park (literally) of any help in aerobic conditioning? Thanks, Chet

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    Mariner_9 on #3982

    “how low (obviously “recovery” occasionally is fine) below aerobic threshold is not helpful “enough” for training?”

    I think this is a function of duration and not just intensity (that is my understanding from TFNA, anyway). One walk of 8-hours in Zone 1 is very different from doing 8x 1-hour walks in Zone 1. Also, IIRC, some of this is muscular/skeletal adaptation and not just aerobic conditioning, which is also important for avoiding injury when in the hills. For that you also need duration.

    Hope that is of some help. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable can chime in.

    ConMan on #3984

    I think this conversation should happen in the context of how fit you are. Certainly, anything is better than nothing, but if you’re having a hard time staying below your “threshold” hr number, the stroll will benefit your aerobic system more than if you’re able to pump out 15+ hrs of training to per week. But, I find the more in shape I get, the more I welcome these strolls. It helps on the recovery front, which I’m trying to sort out if the muscles’ clearance ability is a somewhat separate and trainable quality. Some say it is. If it is, do these strolls help train your body’s clearance ability?

    That’s the long way of saying, it helps and depending on your fitness, it helps in different ways. I got my 3 yo to run the mile we walk together, not because I asked, but because she is a crazy girl. And now the 5 yo follows suit. And when it warms up, I’ll carry the 15 lb baby as well to “stress” the system a little more. If you don’t think it is that beneficial to you, maybe think of some ways to stress your body a bit more…

    Anonymous on #3989

    As the above posts mention. It all depends in where you aerobic limit (threshold) is. When are are talking aerobic capacity as measured by the power or speed at the aerobic threshold, this is the maximum power your aerobic system can produce without a majority of the needed energy coming from the anaerobic or glycolytic system. The only way to increase the capacity of that aerobic metabolic pathway is to stress it. Aerobic base training is a function of the ST fibers aerobic function and hence relatively low intensity for even the fittest (but not a low speed for the very fit). These ST fibers do not become fatigued except through long duration bouts of continuous training that results in glycogen depletion; that’s their number one signal to increase aerobic capacity. So Duration is key but so is staying in that aerobic zone. If you train at too high of intensity involving more FT or higher power ST fibers that do not have as much endurance then those fibers’ endurance becomes your fatigue limitation and the ST base fibers won’t get enough time training because you’ll fatigue before that pool of base ST fibers gets their optimal training dose. This is not to say that training at the endurance limit is not beneficial but it has a different purpose.

    More to your point: 20 min evening walks will help more with recovery for most people than with base building but if a few 20 min walks adds significantly to your volume then they made also add to your base. The if you AeT is very low then the most benefit will come from spending maximum time close to AeT.


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