Training Zones

Could you please tell me the heart rate as a percentage of maximum heart rate for each training level i.e. level 1 ,2 3, 4.

A. Clements

Dave Palese replies:

First, I don't refer to the training zones I define for my riders by numbers. I have found over the years as a rider and then over the more recent as a coach that the numbers are just a bit cold and not so user-friendly. I refer to the zones by names that are more descriptive of the work done in that zone. I have found that riders can more easily understand their training and the use of heart rate as a tool, when they understand the purpose of the zone system.

The zones I use look like this. The percentages are of Max Working Heart Rate:

Recovery (Up to 65%) Active rest, recovery. Very light activity.

Endurance (66-77%) Basic endurance, aerobic capacity. Light to easy activity.

Tempo (78-82%) Aerobic capacity. Easy to moderate activity. You usually break a sweat in this zone.

Threshold (84-90%) Anaerobic Threshold. Moderate to hard activity. Labored breathing occurs at about the mid point in this zone. This change in breathing is known as the VT or ventilatory threshold. It is believed that the VT aligns well with an individuals lactate threshold.

Submax (91-100%) Anaerobic capacity. Hard to very hard. The effort here is pretty much as hard as you can manage for the length of the effort. Submax efforts generally range from 2-6 minutes'

Max (Maximum effort) Sprints. Simply, as hard as you can go. Heart rate does not apply to these efforts as they are too short, 8-15 seconds, for the heart rate to react and rise.

A couple of notes about these zones.

These are also a starting point. Often, after a period of time training using the zones that we set-up initially, a rider and I will tweak the zones to more effectively fit them as an individual.

Also you should remember that heart rate is not the end all be all of training intensity. With the advent of the affordable heart rate monitor, I believe riders today are not as in tune with their bodies and the idea of gauging your intensity by feel is something many riders don't know how to do. Make an effort to learn how riding just below your threshold feels as compared to riding just above it. Being able to do so will give you more control over your training and that will make your training more effective.