80/20 Plan right for me with ADS or do I need to build aerobic base first? | 80/20 Endurance

80/20 Plan right for me with ADS or do I need to build aerobic base first?

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    I would love to sign up with an 80/20 plan, but I am not sure if this is the right time for me. I understand that my aerobic system is severely down, I estimate my AeT (aerobic threshold) is somewhere around 125 HR, along with a painfully slow pace of +12min/mile. My question is, should I first build my aerobic capacity for the next three months using something like MAF method to get out of the aerobic “hole” I’m in and then start an 80/20 marathon plan, or would I be able to improve my aerobic capacity just as effectively if I started with an 80/20 plan right away? I am asking because some people advocate against pairing low-intensity work with higher intensity (HR) workouts as it’s expected to undermine aerobic capacity training.

    David Warden


    Thanks for posting on our forums.

    Short answer: I don’t think it is a bad idea to dedicated a period of time to only aerobic training. I think it is a better idea to start with the 80/20 system.

    Long answer: I like MAF, it has some good stuff, but I think the 80/20 system is superior to building aerobic base.

    Where MAF and 80/20 agree is that you need a LOT of aerobic work. The difference is that they say 100%, and we say 80%.

    I am not aware of any empirical research that supports excluding high intensity until aerobic base is built. I would love to see it, and am opening to change my mind, but I have not been presented with this information.

    I am aware of significant research that support that the best athletes in the world use the 80/20 system, and that high intensity intervals is a critical component of improving performance.

    It’s possible that for some athletes, a brief period of exclusive aerobic training will provide superior results, I’m not aware of that.

    It begs the question: do elite athletes use the 80/20 system because they happen to respond to it better than non-elites? Or does the 80/20 system make them elite? Maybe the 80/20 system only works for….80% of the population? I don’t know.

    Check out our Testimonials (anecdotal evidence!) and you’ll find that 80/20 seems to work for a wide variety of individuals.



    Thank you, David! I appreciate you taking the time to clarify. Signing up for 80/20 level 1 marathon now.


    How can I get the premium strength plan along with the 80/20? On TP website they show the 80/20 and only mention the strength plan, but I cannot select it for purchase.

    Never mind, just found it under “all plans from the author”.


    One “trick” I found that works for me is to enter a reduced Threshold value into Training Peaks when I am training for a “B” race, or returning after a break.

    A retired old guy, I have flexibility to enter into the higher level plans, but I only run hard races once or twice a year. As a result my race times are a poor estimate of my threshold and I struggle to execute the plans without some preparation.

    I will take up to 20-30 seconds off my estimated threshold pace/km which allows me to build the aerobic capacity and gain confidence for the next (real) segment and get the 80/20 benefits in terms of overall fitness and running efficiencies.

    I think the new “Talk Test” may change my strategy since it seems to be self regulating, I’m just not sure yet that it accurately reflects neural muscular conditioning.

    David Warden

    @ch.herriman@gmail.com Also, I think our 80/20 website does a better job of sorting the plans than the TP store. See https://www.8020endurance.com/training-plans/ and it categorizes all our plans by type, including stregnth.


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