Six months: Why am I not getting faster?

  • Creator
  • #56473

    I’m six months into a Z2 program. My aerobic threshold has been confirmed from lab tests at 138, my lactate threshold is 163, and my max HR is 188. I’m 55 years old.

    I’m getting in 10-ish hours a week of running just sub-AET, but at a glacial pace of 11 min/mile that hasn’t improved in six months. I breath easily at that pace, but it refuse to get better.

    What am I doing wrong? I’ve added back in some speed work—30/30s once a week— and I do strides at least once a week, but I’m not getting any faster. Sure, I can go faster, but with heartrate consequences, with 9 min/miles jacking HR to 150+, which I can hold, but it ain’t below aerobic threshold.

    Anyone have any thoughts? Not obvious to me why I’m not getting any faster.

  • Participant
    DominicPNW on #56493

    My numbers are very similar to yours, and I’m in the same boat. I suspect on my end I’m not recovering enough or I’m doing too much in a day (7-8 hour hikes at Z2 every weekend). Curious to see what the experts have to say on this.

    bback on #56496

    Lack of recovery? Enough sleep, food, rest weeks?

    Lack of Strength or ME? I know this caused problems for me. I stalled until I ran the plan as advertised to include ME work. Then the aet went up steady.

    Anonymous on #56520


    You mention that a lab test confirmed these numbers but as you might have read on this site, not all lab tests are the same. If your was billed as a maxVO2 test and was less that 30 min in duration it might not have given you accurate thresholds. That is VERY high max HR and AnT for someone your age. The highest I have seen in fact.

    Those issues aside I would recommend doing the HR drift test described on our site. The beauty of this test is that it is free and you can retest again in a few weeks. Your AeT HR should rise but more importantly your pace at AeT should improve.

    I have never seen a non-repsonder to aerobic base training. I can tell you that it does take long to move the aerobic needle as you age. I should know: I’m 67! But 10 hours of easy aerobic work a week is quite a hefty load and the comments above that suggested fatigue as a possible cause are a good possibility. Take a rest week where you drop the 30-30s and strides and cut the volume of running by at least 50% and then go for a run and see if you don’t feel a bit faster.

    I hope this helps.

    timbenz on #56718

    Thanks for the note. What is “ME”? I’m drawing a blank.

    timbenz on #56719

    Thanks Scott. I’m fairly sure about the AeT/ANT/max HR numbers, and have calculated aet various ways, both in lab and via DFA a1 tests, as well as doing the LT test with blood markers. Former vertical km racer and XC ski racer, so that may have something to do with it.

    Will try the drift test again, and see what it says, as well cutting load for a week and see if fatigue is a factor.


    Kyle Brundage on #56740

    ME = Muscular Endurance!

    rich.b on #56749

    Aside from the other feedback, another consideration might be longer intervals and tempo runs (such as progression) rather than only 30/30s. The question is if training is too biased to Z1-2; that is, if you are doing more than 80-85% easy. Some speedwork is needed to become more efficient moving faster. At 10 hours per week running, then in theory you should have 1.5 hours total above Z2, and I would not think with the 30/30s you would get that total.
    That said, 10 hrs/week is not unreasonable at 55 if you have a long history training. Obviously there is always a need to assess recovery, and be sure that is not a factor in your plateau.

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