Garmin "Low Aerobic Shortage" - outdated advice?

Hey, folks. As the outdoor season starts to come to a close for me, out here in Connecticut, I’ve been reviewing my data on Strava, Garmin Connect, and TR. While TR’s metrics aren’t great, for me, Garmin seems to think that I am consistently “unproductive” or “maintaining”; it’s asserting that I have a “low aerobic shortage” of endurance-level rides.

Isn’t this outmoded thinking? Or is TR really the only platform that adheres to the “you don’t need to go slow to get fast” thinking (which I am very much in agreement with). Still, I’m open to the possibility that maybe I’m wrong. After all, I buy into the use of Petit during SSB, and Chad’s explained on one of the podcasts why it’s a good thing, but he absolutely did not say that it would address your “low aerobic” workload…

So, I guess my questions are:

  • have you folks found that your training improved when you added endurance work in your outside riding season?
  • Is the “long slow distance / endurance pace / low endurance” training mindset that Garmin seems to espouse outmoded (or just diametrically opposed to TR’s approach)?
  • Do we all agree that we can improve in our outside riding without having to do low aerobic intensity work, or is there evidence (anecdotal or otherwise) to show that it’s a necessary component (so long as we manage our fatigue and don’t ride ourselves into a hole)?
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Hopefully someone will have a better answer than this, but I know amongst most triathletes the consensus is that the Garmin training status is pretty wack and most people ignore it


no, it is not, but I’m sure you can find folks that will take your position.

As to your first question on the bullet list, with 5+ years of training my performance improved by building weekly calendar around endurance rides and then adding a few days of endurance+intensity. On an average of 7-8 hours per week of training.

As your physiology is unique, and response to training is individual, you will likely find people with different opinions. However from my point-of-view the (old & recent) science is pretty clear that low aerobic works. Its also clear that HIIT works on 3-5 hours/ week. There is an open question on the crossover point, one coach with data on over 100 athletes has seen better results on 5-8 hours training.


After first year of gains by doing anything, I have upped my volume and added a lot more Z2. I have improved in every aspect on the bike. This year I want to shift even more into “traditional” model and focus on longer Z2 rides during the base and maintenence during next phases. Model by doing only LSD maybe is outdated and maybe not working so great if you are not doing a lot of volume but even one longer (let’s say 3h+) ride every week will be beneficial.

There are many things that cannot be improved without Z2 training. Fat oxidation capability and pgc-1 alpha activation through calcium/CamKII signaling, lactate clearance ability or peripheral adaptations for your vo2 max. So basically, like every other training zone, you have to train it.


How many hours and how many workouts are you doing? How old are you? If you’re only riding 2 or 3 times a week for 45-60 minutes, I think you could argue that HIIT work is your best bet. For anything beyond that, Z2 work is just a natural part of training and is incorporated into the TR Plans and TrainNow recommendations.


Funny, my Garmin keeps telling me that I have a high aerobic shortage. There’s no way I’m going to do that much threshold training to make the Garmin gods happy.


over here it recognizes tempo rides as high aerobic. A little vo2max, a little tempo, and it balances out for me :man_shrugging:

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Yeah, you actually don’t need to do that much to hit “high aerobic”. It doesn’t care about “continuous time in zone” just “total time in zone”.

Still, I may be overcompensating :slightly_frowning_face: :


Where do you find that chart? I see the little graph on my 530 but that’s it. Is there anywhere that tells you what watts the zones represent?

This is one thing that frustrates me about the Garmin metrics. There’s no manual or instructions. Other gripes - if I use my 510, the ride is not included. If I forget my HR strap on a ride, it doesn’t count.

Not for me!

Log into Garmin connect on a web browser (not the app). On the top of the page, click on your device, then Device Settings, then User Settings.

I agree it’s sucks that nothing comes with a simple manual any more, but just use Google. If you ask “how do I change my cycling power zones on garmin Edge” you’ll get lots of responses.

This is a great article, btw. Why you need to setup the heart rate zones on your Garmin watch - My Runner's Life

I’ve been on Garmin Connect. I see the zones there. I don’t see anything that looks like the screenshots that others are posting. Is that from the app?

Sorry, I must not understand your question. You asked how to see what each zone represents.

The Anaerobic/Low Aerobic/High Aerobic metrics are based on HR. If there is no HR, it makes sense that the ride would not count against those metrics.

I still can’t find the chart that @bbarrera posted. I also can’t see how they define tempo for example. It’s like a black box.

On phone: connect app- drop-down menu- performance stats- training status- press on load (in between vo2max and heat acclimatization) and it will bring up the screen you want

Markedly. Even just including 2 days per week of steady Z2 or low tempo rides that are 1.5-2.5 hours long into a 6-8 hour week has paid off huge when coupled with 2 HIT days.

I’m not sure why people think that riding endurance isn’t necessary. I mean, I guess nothing is necessary, but if you want to build a really solid aerobic base then I think it is necessary to an extent.


Load is missing from my app (iOS). The only place I can find “low aerobic” or “high aerobic” focus is on my 530.

Also, why this? Outdoor riding during autumn riding is some of the best. I realize there are always daylight constraints and the like, but I wouldn’t throw the towel in yet if you can.

I don’t even have a “Training Status” menu point, there is “training effect”, but it shows a calendar-like graph. All my rides are “aerobic”, I don’t think I’ve ever had another one.