Reply To: HR zones doubts


Since this email is hard to decode, here is the basic question for everyone to better understand.

“I was uploading/testing my cycling HR zones on TrainingPeaks, using the method you indicated (LT from the VO2 test I did last year and Joe Frisel cycling calculation), and I was quite surprised to find very different zones than the ones I got last year from the VO2 test (by Ken Mierke at Fitness Concepts). Take a look:

Ken Mierke –      Z1: 99-109; Z2: 110-120; Z3: 121-146; Z4: 147-155; Z5a: 156-173; Z5b: 174-181; Z5c: 182 and up.
TrainingPeaks – Z1: 00-124; Z2: 125-138; Z3: 139-144; Z4: 145-154; Z5a: 155-158; Z5b: 159-164; Z5c: 165-255
I was certainly expecting some difference and I am not a HR zone geek. But the thing that sort of caught my attention here is that the heart of Z2 by TrainingPeaks would be the heart of the Z3 by Fitness Concepts. So following TrainingPeaks I would spend the bulk of my training in the HR zone that is a no-no-no go according to Ken.
Do you have any thoughts about this?”
Great question!  There are so many teaching moments here but I am going to offer a fantastic article that already answers this question instead of reinventing the wheel.
First off, a VO2Max test is really irrelevant for what we are doing/training.  Gyms and fitness centers will sell it to you so they can sell it to you.  However it is not what you need to be testing for endurance training and racing.  This is why we focus on LT instead.
The test for VO2Max and LT are different.  However you are then trying to use that data and ‘force’ it into the metrics that are useful for you.
You are using old data.  HR data should be, if training is done correctly, obsolete within 6-8 weeks not months or years later.
I shared with you that you will get a different calculation with each method you use.  This is why you need to correlate it with the talk test, as well as rate of perceived exertion.
And the list goes on….
However hopefully this article shares the big difference between VO2Max and LT.  They are testing something completely different and calculated in very different ways. If you want to compare, you need to compare apples to apples not apples to oranges. And then compare it to a bushel of apples (RPE, talk test, etc).
Nice work digging into HR zone training!  However I caution everyone against getting a VO2Max test.  As the article states, it’s not the best use of your time and money.