I know there had been discussion about having an NTP clinic on heart rate / zone training. Is that still in the works? We're starting on our third month of training and I think I need to be better informed. I admit I'm not always following the recommended zones and I'd be better at remembering to strap on the HR monitor if I knew more about how it's helping me. If not a clinic, can you recommend a website? Thanks!
I second that emotion. Although I have a general idea about my HR zones when jogging, I don't know how to assess/translate my HR zones for my bike workouts (e.g., is it just a matter of adjusting the gears for a harder workout, then assessing the HR while maintaining a consistent speed throughout?).
OK, first, there's no magical formulas. To use HR zones, you will need to get in touch with your body and learn how it responds to different loads. To get you started, HR zones basically break down something like this:
1 - recovery
2 - endurance
3 - intense endurance
4 - "threshold"
5 - anaerobic
Some scales you'll find out there have up to 7 or 8 zones, some have a's and b's, but they all basically follow this.
How do you know where each zone is? Most either require you to base on your max HR (which is tough to find unless you do an absolute-all-out-go-home-and-cry-for-your-momma effort) or your lactate threshold (LT). Those age-based formulas (220-age or whatever) are bunk, just ignore them. LT is basically where your breathing goes heavy. This is about 85% of your max HR, and a good # to find. What makes it tricky, is it can move around a little based on sport (running is typ highest, cycling is 5-10 beats lower, and swimming you have to gauge perceived effort), fitness, day, etc., but for your purposes, get close.
z1 is <65% max HR. Very easy effort, like walking. Just gets the blood flowing and stretches the legs.
z2 (where you spend the majority of your time) is around 65-75% max HR. It's a comfortable pace, but not effortless. It takes discipline to exercise here because you won't feel like you're working, but your endurance is improving and you're teaching your body to consume fat as a fuel source.
z3 is a bit of a dead zone (~80% maxHR). It starts to burn carbs and can lead you to bonk in a workout. You don't help endurance nor improve lactate conversion, but some will prep you for harder work in...
z4 this is just below LT, helps strengthen your muscles and improve biochemical pathways that process lactic acid. This is where you start to "feel the burn." You typically work in 5-10 min blocks of this (I'm sure you'll all have the pleasure of doing intervals), not hours. This fatigues you. it's also referred to as "quality" work by some. Eventually, you do most of your workouts focusing on z2 and z4.
z5 is anaerobic. Also helps the body tolerate lactic acid buildup, and is less sustainable (a few min per session). This severely fatigues you, so you do it rarely (typically) and take long recoveries after. These suck. May not be too useful for first timers, as it gets to more fast-twitch and explosive speed development.
The web is useful to read up on different methods and such. Take each with a grain of salt. Best is to work at different HRs with different loads and see how you feel, and you'll start to hone in on what each zone feels like for each sport. G'luck, and don't hurt yourselves!
Thanks to Jason for the very informative post!
FYI - we are working on getting a HRT clinic together for NTP. Stay tuned for details.
If their was a clinic open to the HIPsters too -that would be great!!
In the event that you don't get a clinic, I've been using Joe Friel's "The Triathlete's Training Bible" - he does a pretty good job explaining what each zone is, what your body is doing, how to find each zone, how much training to allot for each zone, etc., plus some add'l references. I've heard "Going Long" by the same author is also good, but not read it yet. This is not the only, or even the best, "system" out there for everyone, but I'm finding it works for me; and my coach/taskmaster seems to be working from a very similar playbook.
For the record, I set up a HR training clinic on April 19th.
I post all Clinics under the "EVENTS" section of the website for people to quickly find.
If there's enough committed interest, I will set up another one.
Here's the information that was covered:
VO2 Testing & Heart-Rate Zone Training Seminar
Date & Time: Sunday, April 19th, 2:00pm-3:00pm
Location: Tidal Elite Performance Center, 4123 Wisconsin Ave, NW
Cost: Free, and Refreshments will be served
• VO2/Metabolic Testing and its value for athletes
• The utilization of HR-based zone training
• How increased efficiency can improve pace, endurance, and overall performance
• How metabolic testing along with HR training can prevent “overtraining” and injuries
Questions? Contact J Braun at email@example.com
I actually attended this clinic at Tidal (his first one in March) and it was very informative. If there is enough interest, I am sure he would do it again.
I wasn't able to make it to the club clinic, but I did go to Fitness Concepts for testing by Ken Mierke. I found the testing very helpful for me personally because I've always felt that my HR gets too high and that would stop me from continuing at the same pace. From the testing and the explanation that Ken provided, I learned that my personal HR zones are a lot higher than others. I was just reminded of this today. Ken also explained some training that I can do to train more efficiently. If you can work it in, I recommend going to Ken.