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Great question Justin! The answers are likely yes all around. Probably not what you want to hear but let’s break it down.
Heart rate zone training is a process. You will likely NOT get it right the first time you test or the first time you try to execute on your HR targets. It just takes some time and a whole lot of practice. First and foremost, you are getting started and this really is the hardest part. So nice work!
That said, zone 2 is MUCH SLOWER that most people think. So it is likely that you are in need of some conditioning and you need to slow down. That said, your HR zones are based off YOUR lactate threshold. So all of this is how you execute your baseline test (and if you did the calculations properly). There is a lot of room for error with this whole process. However the more that you practice, the better you will get.
Finally, here is a discussion from the Olympic distance training program regarding a similar topic. Thus I thought I would share this feedback here as well. Hopefully this discussion can add context around your questions.
“As I mentioned in both the Athlete’s Guide and at the kick off meeting, there are literally thousands of different ways to calculate your heart rate (and power) zones and you will get varying numbers with each calculation. The slides I did not have a chance to review at the kick off meeting because we ran out of time, (however I still summarized them) was that there is both room for and margin of error for both human and technology application and execution when it comes to heart rate zone training. It is NOT a perfect science (even when done in a lab). But it’s a much better science than not doing anything at all!
The<strong style=”font-style: italic;”> key here is that you must correlate heart rate with power (as applicable) with your rate of perceived exertion with your talk test.
Here is an overview on how to calculate your HR zones in Training Peaks just to make sure this process has been completed properly. Keep up the hard work here! It will come 🙂