Zone Training

The old way of running until your lungs burst simply doesn’t cut it anymore.  Going all out every day in an effort to increase you cardiovascular capacity will leave exhausted and leads to overtraining.  Recently, cardiovascular training has become extremely specified in every sport as theories on heart rate zones come and go.  Finding your correct heart rate zones will allow you to tailor your training according to your needs, time of year or level of fitness.

The best method for finding your HR zones is the Lactate Threshold test.  This is actually a pretty miserable test, however it is extremely accurate.  In this test you go as hard as you go as hard as you can for 30 minutes.  Yet, only the last 20 minutes is recorded to get your average heart rate.  That average heart rate will then be your highest zone.

From there you can calculate the 5 zones:

Let’s say your average heart rate was 150.

Zone 1 = 150 x (0.83) = 125

Zone 2 = HR x (0.89)

Zone 3 = HR x (0.93)

Zone 4 = HR

Everything above your average heart rate is zone 5.

This is the most accurate way of training in your zones.  You have to exact numbers to plan your workout around.  The next method is much easier, but it is not as accurate.  If you don’t have a heart rate monitor, this is your best bet for getting your zones in order.  It is a simple equation called the Karvonen Formula.  It is pretty easy as it is just plug and chug.

Here is a link to the formula and the zone percentages.

Next time, I’ll explain in more detail how to use these zones effectively to avoid overtraining.


Posted on Apr 07 2011, under Training | No Comments »

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