I've noticed there are several HR zone systems - some with four zones and some with five and some even with 7 (zone five broken up into 5a, 5b and 5c). Some of the systems have zones 1-2 go from 50-70% of max hr and some go 55-75 or some other range.
Which zone system is the training schedule using? Or more simply, what percentage of max hr is zones 1-2 under the training plan's system?
You're right, there are quite a few schools of thought on what the heart rate zones are, and even more opinions on which are the best and most accurate.
This is a good question for everyone in NTP. During the orientation meeting, we mentioned that the VO2max was the best and most accurate way to determine your heart rate zones. It is, but it's also the most expensive way. Using the simple formula to find your heart rate zones is the easiest. It's NOT the most accurate, but it will give you a good idea and that's all you need right now.
We use a 5 zone system for the training program. The zones are determined as part of your max heart rate. I've seen many formulas to determine your max heart rate:
the common one:
220 - (your age)
a newer formula:
Males: 210 - (1/2 your age) - (5% of your body weight) + 4
Females: 210 - (1/2 your age) - (1% of your body weight) + 0
Again, this is not the most accurate, but it will give you a general idea and that's what you need. :) You can even google "heart rate zone calculator" and you'll find numerous websites that will help you calculate your zones.
So now to your question of zones. Yes, different systems use different ranges for the zones. We'll keep it simple because the simpler, the better. :)
Zone 1: 50-59% of your max heart rate
Zone 2: 60-69% of your max heart rate
Zone 3: 70-79% of your max heart rate
Zone 4: 80-89% of your max heart rate
Zone 5: 90-99% of your max heart rate
I hope that answers your question, and hopefully any questions some NTPers were thinking of asking. :)
2010 NTP Co-Leader
I have had VO2 testing done. Is this supposed to be max heart rate or max lactate threshold?
Also, I know we talked about dialing training back during the orientation meeting on Saturday. However, I can't seem to mentally relax and wrap my arms around peeling back to about a 2 or 3 on a 1-10 hardness scale of exercise exertion (10 being all out), i.e., just about walking or spinning to very little resistance (not even flat road), to get to zone 1-2. I currently bike and run regularly 5-6 days a week for about 6 hours a week and do about 1 hour of weight lifting.
Can you please address my concern? Want to make sure I am maintaining my current base as well as keep my calories used number at least flat.
If you know your vo2max (which is not your max HR), then ditch the HR formula Bryan gave to est. max HR and use your info (it's far more accurate and specific to *you*). Especially useful is the lactate threshold heart rate. Most (all?) of your early phase training should be below this value. And "easy" should be around 60-80% of that threshold value.
You can probably safely exceed the beginner program (many of us did at least in some parts) to maintain your solid base, but remember that you must fit in all 3 sports and stay reasonably fresh for your race in several months. For ex: If you're a good runner, then feel free to keep that up, but also work on the things you're not good at (swimming, maybe?), and focus on "peaking" for that 6/20 race.
And don't overthink this too much! The program is designed for beginners to learn how to get a workout every day. If you want to learn more, there are more advanced training programs out there (e.g. Joe Friel's training bible). G'luck.
The goals of any training plans are to get you to peak at the right moment and to do so without any physical and mental injuries. I'd say that until you get more experience in triathlons and see what your body can handle with all of the swim, bike, runs workouts over the course of the training program, trust the plan because the odds will be in your favor that way. You don't want to be in a situation where you are going hard now only to burn out and be turned off to the sport later.
I know that most people who do tris tend to be in the A-type personality category. This means that if they are still walking like a human being after a workout then they don't feel that it's a real workout :) Presumably one of the reasons that you joined the NTP program was to find directions with the training. Trust the training for the first tri. For your subsequently tris, you can play around with your workouts to see what's best for you.
There are those of us who do Ironman races without any kind of written plans or road maps so there isn't really any "correct" ways of training since we are all built differently with different athletic backgrounds and race goals. However, before you can get to that point where you are freewheeling the training with confidence, you need to know and understand the fundamentals. Before you can make the determination as to whether a particular training regiment/plan is too easy or too hard, you need a point of reference ... a baseline. Let your current training plan be that baseline and adjust it for future races.
Thanks for the responses.
I have to admit, the direction seems to be a little gray (hard of a type A ;-) ), but I guess I will try dialing back some (not sure what this means yet) so I can stay "fresh" as you put it and also see how combining swimming in impacts me (yes, absolutely my weakest leg).
I was also confused about this, so I went to the gym extra early today (type A much?) and sat down with the gym manager. She gave me some slightly different numbers. She said there were many different ways to calculate zones, but in the school of thought that she was trained:
zone 1: 60-65%
zone 2: 65-70%
zone 3: 75-80%
zone 4: 85-90%
zone 5: 90-95%
So, I can see that this will make a big difference, especially in the beginning when I'm just walking to stay in zone 1-2. Is this better? worse? about the same? Compatible with the training plan?
The numbers are just slightly different, but it really won't make a big difference in your training. Our idea of Zone 1-2 is 50-70% max while your gym manager suggested it is 60-70%. I don't think you're going to have to worry about the lower end of the zones. Most people have issues slowing it down enough to stay in Zone 2 and out of Zone 3, so that's where the focus is and the two methods align there.
So I wouldn't say it's any better or worse, but it is definitely compatible with the training plan. :)
2010 NTP Co-leader
Thanks for the quick response!
Oooo a newer formula. Looks cool. Where'd you get it?
Holy Cow... that new formula had me up all night last night. I had 3 calculators, and super conductor computer, and a mathmatician. I'm still working on it.
New formula was actually only 4 points away from my practical application test.... AWESOME!!!!