Last week we looked at the methodology used to determine your Threshold Heart Rate. Once this is determined, it’s time to build the various heart rate training zones you will use in your training. The zones range for a recovery zone characterized by easy running or biking to zone three which is at the top end of your heart rate range and is used to build your anaerobic system.
The various zone need to be used together in your training plan with a strategy in mind. If you are a highly aerobic athlete, (can run long distances in a lower heart rate zone) you will want to incorporate more Zone 2 and Zone 3 work to up your anaerobic threshold that will add speed, endurance and durability. Conversely, if you are highly anaerobic, you may want to include more zone one work to help build endurance.
Head coach and owner of QT2 Systems, Jesse Kroplenicki utilizes the following zones:
Zone R (~74% of TH): Recovery zone. To be used for all recovery rides and runs between key intensity sessions. This takes patience to complete correctly but is critical to being recovered for key workouts. If these workouts are overdone, your peripheral system will be too fatigued to effectively stimulate your core systems during key workouts where the goal should be to push your limiters. This zone is also used during long rides for stops, and downhills.
Zone 1 (~83% of TH): Aerobic endurance zone. This is the primary zone for all long rides and runs. Typically, early in the season during the base building phase all work is spent in this zone. Long rides outside, should be spent in this zone in combination with Zone R (due to down hills, stop lights, etc.). Rides on the indoor trainer should be spent only in zone 1 (no down hills, stop lights, etc.) and therefore should get a 1.2 factor applied to them. That is, a 100 min ride on trainer in Zone 1 is worth 130 minutes outside.
Zone 2 (~90% of TH): Endurance tempo zone. This zone is to be used at the end of long rides and runs following the base phase (typically 8-12 weeks). As the race season draws closer, the amount of time spent in this zone should increase. We recommend a maximum of 120 minutes on the bike and 45 minutes running, inserted at the end of your long sessions.
Zone 3 (~97% of TH): Threshold tempo zone. This zone is to be used for increasing the percentage of pace or power at which TH occurs relative to VO2 max pace or power. As the race season draws closer, the amount of time spent in this zone should increase. We recommend a maximum of 30 minutes repeats on the bike and 20 minutes running, inserted within the context of an aerobic session.
HERE’S TO BEING FIT FOR LIFE! Chris is a Certified Personal Trainer, USA Triathlon Level 1 Coach, Group Exercise Instructor, exercise and endurance enthusiast. He competes yearly in numerous running races, marathons, ultra-marathons, triathlons and other endurance events. He is a member of the 2015 QT2 Systems Advanced Team.