Zone Training Cont.

In the last article, I explained two different methods of finding your heart rate zones.  These zones are designed to help you train smarter and more effectively.  Once you have the zones set, you can tailor each cardio session for your needs and avoid overtraining.

Let’s break down each zone:

Zone 1: This is the lowest heart rate range that can still improve fitness.  This is a great zone if you need a recovery session or you are just starting out with your training.  This zone is extremely effective in utilizing fat for fuel.

Zone 2: The second zone is a great way to spend your longer sessions to build your cardiovascular foundation.  The heart is learning to pump blood efficiently and oxygen uptake is improved.  Again, fat is still a major supplier of energy.

Zone 3: This is the aerobic zone.  Staying in this HR range, your body learns to use fat more than glucose and thereby using energy more efficiently.  Keep training in this zone and you will see a big improvement in your ability to run harder for longer periods of time.

Zone 4: At this point, your heart is pumping pretty hard.  Things shift from aerobic to anaerobic.  Because your muscles require more oxygen than the body can provide, different energy systems are used.  At this point, lactic acid builds up to give you that burning sensation.  The longer you train in this zone, the better you will be able to tolerate the lactic acid build up.  However, this is high intensity and should be trained for shorter amounts of time than the lower zones.

Zone 5: This is the point where you are wide open (VO2 Max).  Lactic acid builds up extremely quickly and you begin to fatigue rapidly.  Only the most fit athletes can train in this zone for very long.  This is the state at which you perform intervals or sprints in.

With this information, you can now plan your week out.  If you feel run down and struggling through workouts, spend some time in zone 1 for a while.  Or if things are too easy, step it up to zone 4 or some intervals in zone 5.  Either way, use these zones to tailor your schedule according to your needs.

Posted on Apr 08 2011, under Training | 2 Comments »

2 Responses to “Zone Training Cont.”

  1. Dude, I was just thinking about all of this stuff while I did some intervals this morning on my spin bike. Great article! I really like your interpretation of the zones. Nicely done.

  2. Thanks Kevin. This article is reminder to me that I need to get on the spin bike! By the way, your site is great. Keep it up!

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