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2017-12-15 11:15 AM


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Subject: Zones
Hi all,
This is a very general question, mostly linked to cycling and running.

What are some opinions on how much time each week should be spent in Aerobic workout zones versus anaerobic?

I'm just looking for rough percentages, and I know things would be different during base periods. So, basically, Z2 versus Z5. Some people say no more than 15%, some say more based on what I read.
Thanks.


2017-12-15 11:59 AM
in reply to: Burchib

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Subject: RE: Zones

Only time I ever went Z5 was during end of races (sprints & run races), never a plan during training.  Run training I was probably 90/95% Z2, drifted into Z3 during end of long runs and rides. Periodic Z4 if I did run intervals, usually the 4-6 wks before an important sprint or run race.  Biking, if I did the group ride thing they would always have one or two points where everyone would play 'King of the sprint' starting about a mile out that were punishing, maybe exceeded bike Z5 threshold for a very short duration.  Otherwise most of my then bike training was on a trainer using virtual power so not sure what the HR's were.

2017-12-15 12:38 PM
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Subject: RE: Zones
Good question. I wish I knew what my real max HR was so I could figure it out. Based on the 220-age stuff that garmin uses my stats, which include running, biking, walking, lifting, rowing, and swimming for the last 30 days are:

z1: 43%
z2: 24%
z3: 21%
z4: 12%
z5: 0%

But for my run yesterday I was z1 8%, z2 37%, z3 51%, z4 5%.

Edited by toomanyhobbies 2017-12-15 12:39 PM
2017-12-15 1:55 PM
in reply to: Burchib

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Subject: RE: Zones
I bet if you asked 10 different seasoned and well respected triathlon coaches you'd here at least 3 or 4 different answers.

I think the one answer they may all agree on is...."It depends"

Are you going for sprint, Oly, HIM, full distance races?

What I do know and have experienced with cycling and running is that:

Ride lots, mostly hard, sometimes easy
Run lots, mostly easy, sometimes hard.

For me and I would guess many, many athletes your HR will be much higher during hard run workouts than for cycling. Based on that I only look at HR for running. Cycling is mostly based on power, dong intervals based on power and not HR. Running on the other hand I look at HR and stay mostly in Z2/Z3 except when doing some kind of speedwork or running a 5K etc.

2017-12-15 3:18 PM
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Subject: RE: Zones

Originally posted by Burchib Hi all, This is a very general question, mostly linked to cycling and running. What are some opinions on how much time each week should be spent in Aerobic workout zones versus anaerobic? I'm just looking for rough percentages, and I know things would be different during base periods. So, basically, Z2 versus Z5. Some people say no more than 15%, some say more based on what I read. Thanks.

 

My plan for about 12 years after college purely as a runner was to do speed work every Tuesday (20 minutes in zone 4), Tempo Run every Thrursday (30 minutes Zone 3), long run on Saturday (2 hours in zone 1) and then to do the rest of my running in zone 2 (3 hours).  

 

So that came out to about the following:

Zone 1:  50-55%

Zone 2: 30-35%

Zone 3: 5-10%

zone 4: 5-10%

 

I never looked at the break down in percentages (until just about 2 minutes ago) and didn't even know what my heart rate zones were until about 18 months ago.   I just knew that on Tuesday I was going to lay in all on the line.  I knew I was pushing hard enough when my lungs were burning so much that I could taste the blood in my saliva.  On Thursday I knew it was going to be a faster run but really fun.  On Saturday I knew that I was going to be going painfully slow but that I was going to be on my feet for a really long time.  The rest of the days I was just doing that I felt I needed to do to be ready for my next key run.  If I was dead legged I would slow things down.  If I was feeling well rested I would go faster (but rein in the horses so I could save my legs for the key runs).  

 

NOTE: I have been doing the "zones" all month for my running.  my 30 minute test was a 162 BPM thresh hold HR and my thresh hold pace was 6:11 min/mi.  This morning I did 9.25 miles and if you calculated my zones by HR my L1 zone is everything under 136 BPM which put 54 minutes of my run in the L1 zone. If you calculate my zone by pace my L1 zone is everything over 8:00 mins/mi which only put 17 minutes of my run in the L1 zone (basically just the warm up and cool down).  So...the way you test and define your zones can make a huge different.  The 80% slow 20% fast is a rule I have come across.  My miles look like they pretty much met that rule of thumb.  I also have heard that the two biggest problems that amateur athletes have is that they 1) don't do their fast workouts fast enough and 2) they don't do their slow work outs slow enough.  So make sure you are really work the upper and lower end of the spectrum so you get the full range covered.

 



Edited by BlueBoy26 2017-12-15 3:25 PM
2017-12-15 6:40 PM
in reply to: toomanyhobbies

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Subject: RE: Zones

Originally posted by toomanyhobbies Good question. I wish I knew what my real max HR was so I could figure it out. Based on the 220-age stuff that garmin uses my stats, which include running, biking, walking, lifting, rowing, and swimming for the last 30 days are: z1: 43% z2: 24% z3: 21% z4: 12% z5: 0% But for my run yesterday I was z1 8%, z2 37%, z3 51%, z4 5%.
HR zones differ depending on how much of your weight you are supporting is involved.  Running is the most so zones are a bit different for it say vs. biking.  If you read this BT article it'll show how to do the LTHR test for running and biking.  Everyone is different, my threshold were ~176 running/169 biking, I knew someone that was ~188 running/165 biking. BT has the HR zone calculator for this LT and other HR methods or you can find it on the web.



2017-12-16 1:15 AM
in reply to: Burchib

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Subject: RE: Zones
I think it very much depends on the distances you are focusing on, and what training phase you are in (off-season vs. base building vs. final race preparation). Also to some extent on your coach's philosophy (if you have a coach), the program you're following, and your background and needs as an athlete. With running in particular, some people do better with relatively high volume and relatively low intensity (I was like this when I was "just" a runner) and are more likely to get injured doing a lot of speed work; others tend to break down easily with high volume, and can only be competitive by working in a lot of intensity within limited mileage. The latter seemed to be true of a lot of teammates who were women runners specializing in 1500-5000m. Men in general and 10K/marathon types of both genders tended to fall more into the higher volume/lower intensity group.

Thinking about my training in the past few years, both before and after starting to work with a coach, something like this:

*Most of my swimming (probably 70-80%) is at pretty high effort levels. Basically, except for warmup, cooldown, and drills, I'm pushing an effort level that isn't "easy". That could range from a steady, moderate "tempo" effort for some longer repeats (usually 400-500m), to really all-out sprints of 25-50m. This should probably be different, though, for someone without a strong swim background. I'd think it would be better to focus on developing good technique and endurance with mostly lower effort levels (Z1-low Z2) until they have a workable stroke to pick up the intensity.

*When I have a HIM focus, I'd guess the ratio for biking looks something like 20-30% in Z1 (warmup, cool down, recovery during intervals), 40%ish in Z2 (mostly high Z2), 20-30% in Z3, the remainder in Z4-5. Very little in Z5 except for some strength building stuff pre-season. It's a little different if I'm using power or HR as a metric, as I sometimes train outdoors in really hot conditions which can jack heart rate up (I do the FTP test in the AC). I would think that if I focused mainly on sprints and Olympic distance, I would do more work in Z 4-5; if full IM, more in Z2.

*Most of my running is in Z1-2. For HIM, I think I almost never get above Z3, unless, again, it's the end of a long workout or race and I'm really overheated.
2017-12-17 8:11 PM
in reply to: Burchib

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Subject: RE: Zones

Originally posted by Burchib

Hi all,

This is a very general question, mostly linked to cycling and running.

What are some opinions on how much time each week should be spent in Aerobic workout zones versus anaerobic?

I'm just looking for rough percentages, and I know things would be different during base periods. So, basically, Z2 versus Z5. Some people say no more than 15%, some say more based on what I read.

Thanks.

First thing before we talk about ratios - the biggest mistake most age-group triathletes make is they don't go easy enough on easy days and they don't go hard enough on hard days.  That's probably the single most important thing.  If you aren't training at the right intensity, it doesn't matter what ratios you are using.  The natural inclination is on easy days to push just a little bit harder, because surely a little bit harder will be better.  Unfortunately it's not.  You push just a little bit harder and you are going too hard to train the aerobic energy pathway, but not hard enough to train the anaerobic energy pathways.  When you go EASY you are training the aerobic energy pathway.  When you go HARD you are training the anaerobic energy pathways.  When you go "just a little bit harder" you are doing a lot of work, but aren't getting much return for that work.

Now that we have that out of the way, when you start talking about the ratio of easy/hard, you need to understand there is a difference between cycling and running.  Running is a high impact - the faster you run, the greater the impact forces.  Cycling on the other hand is considered low impact.  I know swimming wasn't part of the original question but swimming is no impact.  Your body can tolerate FAR more intensity while cycling or swimming then it can running.

In general, a mix of approximately 80% easy to 20% hard for running works reasonably well.  Easy being Z1-2, with hard being low Z4.  If your 'A' race is a sprint or Olympic then maybe some Z4-Z5 work from 6-8 weeks before the race until the beginning of the taper.  There's some debate over the value of tempo and/or speed work for long course triathlon.  On the one hand, you can already run faster then you could run for 3+ hours and shifting your lactate curve right with LSD runs will likely provide more improvement then speed work could.  On the other hand, speed work will make you run faster.  The question is will that speed work make you faster at a sub-maximal effort that would be equivalent to a long-course triathlon run effort.

Cycling intensity likely will vary depending upon where you live and what phase you are in.  In cold weather climates where you are riding indoors during the winter, the ratio might be something like 50% Z4-5, 50% Z2-3, when it gets further into the season and you are doing a long-ride outdoors, the ratio would likely go back closer to that 80:20 Easy:Hard ratio.  In warmer climates where you can ride outdoors all year the ratio would depend upon whether you choose to do a winter bike focus (50% Z4-5, 50% Z2-3) or stay with the 80:20 Easy:Hard ratio all year.

Hope my humble two-cents helps.

2017-12-18 11:08 AM
in reply to: k9car363


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Subject: RE: Zones
Thanks everyone for all the feedback!
2017-12-18 11:13 AM
in reply to: Burchib


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Subject: RE: Zones
I did want to add that most of my racing is short distances. I love to do Sprint Tri's and also 10K's. I do throw in the occasional 1/2 marathon, and this summer I did the bike portion of a 70.3. Also did a few cool cycle races at marathon distance. When I review HR info for these races, it is almost scary. When I finish a Sprint tri, I'm totally depleted, but aren't you supposed to be? The cycle part of the 70.3 I stayed in Z2-Z3 the whole time except for last 8 miles.

Does anyone out there feel like they are almost crawling along when running in Z1 or Z2? Maybe it is just me.
2017-12-24 6:56 AM
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Subject: RE: Zones

Originally posted by k9car363

Originally posted by Burchib

Hi all,

This is a very general question, mostly linked to cycling and running.

What are some opinions on how much time each week should be spent in Aerobic workout zones versus anaerobic?

I'm just looking for rough percentages, and I know things would be different during base periods. So, basically, Z2 versus Z5. Some people say no more than 15%, some say more based on what I read.

Thanks.

First thing before we talk about ratios - the biggest mistake most age-group triathletes make is they don't go easy enough on easy days and they don't go hard enough on hard days.  That's probably the single most important thing.  If you aren't training at the right intensity, it doesn't matter what ratios you are using.  The natural inclination is on easy days to push just a little bit harder, because surely a little bit harder will be better.  Unfortunately it's not.  You push just a little bit harder and you are going too hard to train the aerobic energy pathway, but not hard enough to train the anaerobic energy pathways.  When you go EASY you are training the aerobic energy pathway.  When you go HARD you are training the anaerobic energy pathways.  When you go "just a little bit harder" you are doing a lot of work, but aren't getting much return for that work.

Now that we have that out of the way, when you start talking about the ratio of easy/hard, you need to understand there is a difference between cycling and running.  Running is a high impact - the faster you run, the greater the impact forces.  Cycling on the other hand is considered low impact.  I know swimming wasn't part of the original question but swimming is no impact.  Your body can tolerate FAR more intensity while cycling or swimming then it can running.

In general, a mix of approximately 80% easy to 20% hard for running works reasonably well.  Easy being Z1-2, with hard being low Z4.  If your 'A' race is a sprint or Olympic then maybe some Z4-Z5 work from 6-8 weeks before the race until the beginning of the taper.  There's some debate over the value of tempo and/or speed work for long course triathlon.  On the one hand, you can already run faster then you could run for 3+ hours and shifting your lactate curve right with LSD runs will likely provide more improvement then speed work could.  On the other hand, speed work will make you run faster.  The question is will that speed work make you faster at a sub-maximal effort that would be equivalent to a long-course triathlon run effort.

Cycling intensity likely will vary depending upon where you live and what phase you are in.  In cold weather climates where you are riding indoors during the winter, the ratio might be something like 50% Z4-5, 50% Z2-3, when it gets further into the season and you are doing a long-ride outdoors, the ratio would likely go back closer to that 80:20 Easy:Hard ratio.  In warmer climates where you can ride outdoors all year the ratio would depend upon whether you choose to do a winter bike focus (50% Z4-5, 50% Z2-3) or stay with the 80:20 Easy:Hard ratio all year.

Hope my humble two-cents helps.

My thoughts echo Scott's almost exactly.  The only thing I can add is one of the reasons to vary the ratio at different times of the year is because your training objectives vary throughout the year.  For example, I have some athletes whose goal this time of year is dropping fat and improving their body composition. (I avoid having athletes trying to lose weight during bigger volume race specific periods, because it can undermine their fitness gains.)  Their volume is already lower because it's the off season, so when we mix in a fair amount of HIIT into their strength program for the purposes of EPOC and getting more bang out of their limited training hours, it ends up being a much higher percentage of their weekly volume than any other time of the year.  At the other end of the spectrum, for long course athletes during race specific training, I don't have them do any z5 work, so there is a significant difference in the ratios from the high point to the low point.

Begin with the end goal in mind and design your training based on it.

 



Edited by TriMyBest 2017-12-24 6:58 AM


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