The training zones in endurance training
Training zones in running, cycling, swimming etc
Which are the training zones?
The different training intensities cause different acute responses (immediate reactions of the body). The same training loads cause different long-term adaptations – improvements on diverse body functions in different athletes. That’s why we must define the limits within which the different training loads develop. That’s why we choose the appropriate training intensity, in order to develop a particular ability of the body. This is achieved either by measuring external factors, such as speed / pace, workloads, etc., or the body’s responses to them. e.g. heart rate, lactate concentration, exchange of respiratory gases, oxygen saturation at a muscular level. In addition, a scale of fatigue subjective perception (RPE Rating of Perceived exertion) can be used. That is, how exhausted we feel during the exertion of an effort.
A combination of all the above factors covers a laboratory evaluation by specialized scientists (Exercise physiologists). / Field tests can be performed under the guidance and evaluation of coaches who have the scientific background to interpret the values. The management of extrapolated values by people without the required scientific background, is the analogy to take values from blood samples and evaluating them ourselves without the interpretation of our physician. Because “normal values” alone probably do not give an adequate picture of our health status.
Initially we will proceed with a quick presentation for practical application in training, while for those who wish to get to know the different ways of approaching the subject and choose among the most reliable methods we will present these in detail below.
Note: The following presentation is based on statistical averages of trainees and the personal zones are accurately determined only by laboratory ergometric evaluations. Big interpersonal differences are very likely to occur if you adopt the model that follows.
It is also very likely that the heart rate zones are different for the same athlete, in terms of two different sports. E.g. Running and cycling. Different tests for different sports are suggested.
|Average %Threshold Speed / Power
|Average %Threshold HR
|Very easy, it seems very slow and you feel guilty for running so slowly. This zone is used for warming up and cool down after or before long runs / bikes, or more intense efforts and for recovery runs / Bike Rides (recovery runs / bikes). The effort in this zone also activates the burning of fat and begins its catabolism.
|Moderate pace at which you could run/cycle throughout the day. You’ll have a few more breaths, but you should be able to chat at that pace. You should feel that you could run/cycle all day at this pace.
Marathon race pace
|Tolerably difficult, but manageable pace. You can chat during the effort, but you will have a few more breaths and you will be interrupted by the normal breathing rhythm every time you talk to this intensity. You should feel that you can maintain this pace (it depends on the experience – up to 90 minutes). You have to be focused to maintain the effort otherwise you will see yourself slow down without realizing it. The time you spend in this zone will further improve the aerobic system and develop your ability to have a faster pace for longer.
Semi Marathon race pace
|Difficult pace. You’ll feel like you don’t want to talk at that pace. You will be at the point where the byproducts of metabolism (lactate, hydrogen ions) accumulate in your legs, you feel them burning, but your body maintains a balance through their management at a satisfactory fast pace. You have to be focused to maintain this level of effort.
Pace ≈ 5 km
|Very difficult effort. Above the pace you run / cycle in the anaerobic threshold. You have to be focused and highly motivated to maintain the level of this effort.
|Short ” segments ” of interval training lasting 30sec – 3min designed to increase anaerobic capacity, severe sensation of muscular but not systemic fatigue.
|Very high intensity, very short duration of effort that bring about intense stress and neuromuscular rather than metabolic fatigue. Jumps, race starts, sprints.
HRmax (Heart Rate maximum)
Threshold Speed / Power /
RPE = Rating of Perceived exertion = scale of subjective perception of fatigue
N/A = Not Available ( Not an indicator of intensity)
More specialized information and explanations follows.