When to add Z3, ME and Z4?

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  • #31917

    Hi guys,

    I understand that:

    – Z3 when (AnT/AeT)-1 =< 10%
    – ME when (AnT/AeT)-1 =< 10%

    Is there a recommendation when to add Z4?


  • Inactive
    Anonymous on #31949

    Typically we introduce the Z3 work as a precursor to the Z4 intervals. This depends to a large extent on your response to this higher intensity. Read the quote from Per Aastrand on Page 170 of Training for the Uphill Athlete to see that there is no one size fits all for the prescription of the use of high intensity training. There is a great deal of info in that book on how to introduce intensity.

    One word of caution I would not add ME and Z3 and Z4 workouts in the same period. Again this is explained in the book. You run a serious risk of overtraining by doing so. This is why, for runners and Skimo we periodize. We use the ME in the base period as a preparation for the high intensity training to follow. We do this even for athletes with ADS and have seen very positive results doing so.
    I hope this helps.

    Dada on #31951

    Hi Scott,

    Thank you very much!

    I will look up the pages you referring to.

    The reason I ask: you also refer to the Seiler work in TFTUA. I read some of his work and he confirmed that Z3 training is becoming the black hole for the well trained at some point. That was the reason I was wondering if there is a tangible indicator when to switch from Z3 to Z4.

    I will now introduce ME as a base for Z3 work later on.


    Anonymous on #32315

    In a general context, referring to Z3 as “black hole” training is helpful because it scares people away from it, protecting them from overdoing it.

    But as your fitness improves, and especially if Z3 becomes race pace (i.e. in skimo, etc), then you’ll need to spend some time there. For athletes with a long training history and a Z3 race pace, Z3 may become the most important intensity.

    BUT! Most people get ahead of themselves and think, “Yeah, yeah, I’m ready for it” way before they are. Then they spend too much time there which gradually destroys their aerobic capacity.

    Think of it as using salt when cooking. Should you use salt? Yes. When and how much? It depends.

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