Long slow endurance for mitochondria building

Why did you include three reputable sources in your post?

I thought it was enough just to whine about something someone wrote in the past that got backlash in the forum :wink:


Because I am not a reputable source mysfelf :slight_smile:
Basically, there are two things - what you should do and why something happens. The more I read from here and other sources training as a “idea” is extremely easy - do the highest volume you can, introduce some intensity. Do some moderate intensity and some high intensity and supplement it with long Z2 rides, rest a lot and eat a lot. No matter what training principle you apply, it always works the same.

Why something happens - this is the other thing and probably there are no “clear” answers for anything. I am far from fetching the latest research and introduce it to my training when I know I must work on my basics. Sometimes I have a feeling it is like arguing how fast and aero is the Trek Madone vs Aeroad vs Tarmac SL7 when it does not matter for us, mere mortals and as we see does not matter for the professionals. The more I observe many differtent fields the more I see the people “on the top” are the least interested in details and more focused on basics.


I just had to quote that, great summary!

The problem is people want shortcuts.


The reason that adaptation in ST plateaued was due to changes in recruitment.

Other studies have shown that increasing duration beyond 2 hours at a constant intensity results in little if any further increase in mitochondria.

In any case, it is clear that contrary to the OP’s original statement, you don’t have to train for 2 hours before things “kick in”.


For context:

You’ll only need to devote 12 minutes, but you’ll have to go a lot harder than zone 2.


@Bardia Welcome to the community! (I think)

Almost all forms of endurance training will increase or maintain the same level of mitochondria.

I think the reason you are getting some of the responses you are getting is because there really is no definitive way to answer your question. We can confidently say that a well-designed training plan that you stick to and can maintain for months and years will lead to lots of physiological adaptations, including mitochondrial biogenesis (among several others…not sure why all of a sudden the mitochondrial adaptations became such a hot topic, it’s not the only thing that happens. Why just have one improvement? I want them all).

  1. Get a coach*
  2. Try a TrainerRoad plan

(those are not the same thing, but either can work)

*Over the last two years (since the forum’s inception from FB), the questions that draw the most—let’s call it debate:slight_smile: are simply variations on “Hey guys, please give me some coaching advice”. That’s fine, but you need be able to filter the signal through the noise, and have a pretty thick skin.


I think I posted this in the other thread as well, but whenever someone asks ‘will X work?’ or is Y enough?’, the answer is almost always ‘for what and for whom?’

If you’re a pro with an FTP of 6w/kg then my (totally non scientific) thought is that 2hrs at 0.7IF is probably not going to drive much adaptation. If you’re straight off the coach, then literally 20 minutes at 0.6 is going to have a training benefit.

It’s always about the SAID principle at the end of the day.

Now factor in time availability for most of us, and the answer to the original question gets even more ‘it depends’.


Mr. Dylan Johnson just showed off his monster base season with 30hr weeks. Apt for this thread. Cheers. H

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Ouch. Over the top with the haymaker.

I has sad

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what studies?

You’re a good sport! cheers

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Check Howie Green’s work, or Pette’s studies of chronic electrical stimulation. Or just look at the graph in the study I posted, which shows things starting to plateau after just 90 minutes.

There may be benefits to training more than 2 hours per day on average, but if so they are unlikely to be related to further increases in mitochondrial respiratory capacity (except perhaps in some normally hard-to-recruit motor units). In fact, contrary to the OP’s suggestion the law of diminishing returns clearly kicks in before this, versus adaptation only induced by going at least that long.


As you can tell, you have (accidentally?) stepped on one of the forum landmines - which is the best approach to building fitness???

I’d suggest you read the TR blogs, listen to as many podcasts as you can, read other endurance coach/company/product blogs and podcasts and get a feel for what suits YOU in your specific situation. The TR philosophy is that shorter and higher intensity work will do just as well (or better) but not everyone is in agreement as you can see :joy:

There are probably a million answers to your question depending on a million different factors specific to you, your history, your genetics, your situation etc etc and the answer for you is never going to be the same as the one for me I’d suggest.

Please circle back and post when you find the Holy Grail though. Lots of people waiting to hear the answer :smiley:

These topics have this chronic issue where people completely ignore the fact how much your current state matters.
Just think about it. If you improved only after doing something for 2 hours, you would forever stay at 0 because you wouldn’t be able to progress so far to even be able to do something for 2 hours.
So yea, if you’re TDF rider you might need 6 hours to notice improvement, but if you ride 1h rides, you will improve even with 1.5h rides.
Of course, not talking about “optimal training split” but we have to be aware that volume/progressive overload is key for human body strengthening.


That should be stickied at the top of every topic :clap:


It depends…” is a necessary qualifier pretty much 110% of the time :wink:


But it’s not that. @bLah comment is deeper than “just depends”. “just depends” is a cop out.

Yes, I know. Hence the wink emoji as a bit of a joke… that clearly failed. :man_shrugging:

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You’re going to end up overtrained :wink:

I’ve changed my entire plan to walking to check the mailbox fasted daily. I then eat 10 gummy bears for recovery and by sticking to that I can repeat it daily, consistency is king after all.

I do stretch, usually right after I get up off the couch.


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