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I've read that aerobic capacity building can go on for 6, 8, or 10 years, even for full-time athletes.
Yes! The narrowing in the AnT / AeT HR gap is really only the beginning. Improvements in pace at those same heart rates can happen for years and years with consistent training (albeit with lower and lower relative improvements.) Canova said something like, "It takes eight years to get your aerobic house in order."
And I recently read how Nils van der Poel spent ~30 hours/week for 3 years in building his aerobic base.
Yes, I need to read that. It's high on my list because I think it may challenge the idea that cycling doesn't help weight-bearing sports. I do wonder if "(s)low impact" weight-bearing sports (like speed skating and skimo) can get a lot of benefit from cycling because the volume can be so, so, so much higher and the need to train impact resistance is not there. (I suspect not for running and mountaineering because impact is such a big factor.)
But for the amateur athlete with jobs and family, wanting to optimize the rate of aerobic development is a hard problem to solve.
Yes, but having kids is way more rewarding anyway. 🙂