5 Zone Heart Rate Training

Zone-1 (Active Rest/Recovery) Very light Heart rate 104-114 bpm.

Very easy, your conversation level is never out of breath. Total recreation level. Good to stay loose, warm up/down. Mentally focus on technique & timing. Speed is not a factor. “Active Rest” Power is 40%-60% power.

Zone-2 (Endurance) LightHeart rate 114-133 bpm.

Your basic endurance-building zone. Your conversation pace is still easy to do. Also described as the LDS (long slow distance).  Excellent way to improve basic fitness and burn fat.  Interval minutes are long pieces 15-30+ or higher.  Zone-2 benefits really don’t kick in until 45 mins, and increases through 1hr 15+mins before level off.  Spend 50-100% of your training in this zone. Z-2 also increases stamina, and anaerobic threshold. Super important to build, without it Z-4 and Z-5 will break you down quickly. Combining resistance in Zone-2 helps build strength, power, and good technique. Apply 50-70% power in your stroke and feeling the resistance in the power phase. Paddling is up at cruising speed or endurance pace 60-70% power.

Zone-3 (Tempo) Moderate Heart rate 133-152 bpm.

The work starts here. Speed increases and workouts are intense. You can still have a conversation but your sentences are shorter. Spend 25-75% training in this zone.  Intervals are shorter but more up tempo just under Lactate Threshold.  Z-3 is totally aerobic and by now it should be at a pace that you can handle for couple of hours. Your paddling level speed & power should be at 70-85% race pace and scratching at Z-4.

Zone-4 (Threshold)  Hard Heart rate 152-171 bpm.

Commonly referred to your Lactate Threshold (LT) or Anaerobic Threshold (AT).  This is the “hard zone” your conversation is one or two words. It’s still aerobic activity but your breathing is at edge of suffering. As you get stronger, faster and fitter, you’ll raise your threshold level. Spend 25-75% in this zone. Z-4 intervals are very intense, pyramids or ladders should be able to start and finish at same power and speed. Depending on intervals 1 or  2-15 mins, paddling levels can shift from race pace to sprints, under control and fast.  Z-4 training is good example of  doing 250,500-1500 meter outrigger sprints. Rest periods for intervals vary depending on type of race goals. Recovery from each interval is partial and key to next set.

Zone-5 (Max Effort)  Maximum Heart rate 171-190

Your all out sprints! Giving your max-effort to the end. Zone-5 hurts badly. Short sprints 10-60 sec. Spend about 10-50% in this zone. Zone 5 builds explosiveness and quick starts. Benefits here prepare you for over taking a canoe, or catching a swell & surfing waves. Rest period is an important key and little longer granted your all out efforts. Z-5 is divided into two areas: Sprints and VO-2 Max Efforts.  Sprints are short durations (10-60+seconds) all out efforts, resting 10sec-3min depending on intervals? Do as many sprints in a workout as you can while maintaining good form and technique.  Best to sprint to a measured distance course or marker type so you won’t have to look at a clock. VO-2 Max is longer sprint duration (2-7mins) all out efforts. Rest 2-5mins or more to recover. It’s a killer, so want your entire energy system recharge and ready to give 100% on the next attack.

 *These efforts increase your anaerobic power and develop your VO-2 Max (the maximum amount of oxygen that can be used during exercise for sustained power)

*Rest: If your training as hard as you should be!  Rest is as important with any training program. You get stronger on rest days. Rest, recovery and recuperation cannot be overlooked.

*Learn to recognize your “Zones” to reach your goals, feel results & see improvements!…By USAC Don Russell elite cycling coach