More on Training Zones

The VO2 Max Test gave me some good information on what my heart rate should be while training. Triathlon coach and author Joe Friel uses 6 workout intensity zones. Here’s his description of each:

Zone 1 (Warmup/Recovery): These are the easiest workouts, and the ones that help fit and experienced athletes rejuvenate the body following hard workouts. Intensity is low. 60-75% of your max heart rate.color>

Zone 2 (Extensive Endurance): Long endurance workouts are done in this zone. Aerobic endurance is built and eventually maintained by exercising at this effort. 75-80% of your max heart rate.color>

Zone 3 (Intensive Endurance): Slightly higher intensity, more fast-twitch muscles are called upon. Training in this zone is employed primarily in the base building period.80-85% of max heart rate.color>

Zone 4 & 5a (Threshold): After zone 2, this is the second most important training zone for a multisport athlete. Long durations at this intensity are measured in minutes, not hours. Since work is now maximally aerobic, the energy-production systems of the body are highly stressed. This zone is right around your Lactate Threshold or Ventilatory Threshold (zone 4 is below your LT/VT, zone 5a is above it). 85-90% of max heart rate.color>

Zone 5b (Anaerobic Endurance): This is the zone where interval training is done. Fast-twitch muscles are used in this zone, which stimulate their growth and development. Training in this zone should be approached with caution and followed by extended recovery. 90-95% of max heart rate.color>

Zone 5c (Power): This zone is very rarely used my a multisport athlete. Duration in this zone is only a matter of seconds. Short, explosive intervals at done in this zone with long recoveries in between. Two or more recovery days are often necessary following one of these sessions. 95-100% of max heart rate.color>

Finding your true max heart rate can only be done with a test (such as a VO2 max), done in a controlled environment. But a good way to get you in the ball-park is to subtract your age from 220 (males), or 226 (females).

If you have a heart rate monitor, make sure that you are training the right zones. Training at a heart rate too low will keep you from improving, while training at a heart rate too high can lead to chronic fatigue and injury.

Back to the gym this morning and 50 minutes on the bike. Good workout with hills and a few sprints (approx. 18 miles)
20 minutes of light weights (back, biceps)
Feeling much better today – felt good to get back in the gym!

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