General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Heart rate zones, thresholds, and training as a beginner Rss Feed  
Moderators: k9car363, alicefoeller Reply
2020-01-07 2:13 PM


Subject: Heart rate zones, thresholds, and training as a beginner
Hi all,
I'm brand new here and enjoying training in my first triathlon season, with a couple of races on the horizon.

The more I read the more I realise that knowing heart rate zones and structuring training accordingly is crucial to making progress. Luckily I'm a nerd when it comes to gear and numbers, and always want to make sure the time I'm spending in training is being used in the best possible way.

So what I'm wondering is where to start with this stuff. I'm using TrainingPeaks to record my sessions, and my partner, who's an impressive age group triathlete, has been structuring my training in the app for me. Right now all I know is my threshold heart rate, and from that TP has calculated my zones. But I'm not focusing on training within certain zones, and I haven't done any testing to differentiate between heart rate capabilities for different exercises - swim vs bike vs run.

So as a beginner, what would you suggest I learn, and how much detail is too much? I'm really keen to get a handle on this and make sure I'm not wasting any training time.

Looking forward to your responses, this is an awesome community and I really appreciate any help you can offer me!

2020-01-07 3:12 PM
in reply to: #5265390

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Subject: RE: Heart rate zones, thresholds, and training as a beginner
Hey Joe! Good on ya for wanting to get the most out of your training.

Joe Friel has a good write up on training peaks for implementing your zones for each sport based on your threshold:

Depending on what distance races you are participating in will determine a lot of how your workouts are structured. I guess this is where you have to trust your friend has a good grasp on training principles. I would have an open conversation with your friend and get them to explain the reason behind each workout they have prescribed, I think they can even add notes for each workout in TP. This will probably help you understand the program better than anything.

In general, you want to spend the majority of your time under your lactate threshold. I stick with the 80/20 rule for running. I may dabble a little more in harder intervals on the bike and in the water since the risk of injury is lower.

Step 1 is make sure you have an accurate HR to base your zones off of. Step 2 would be set the zones. And Step 3 is the tricky part of determining what zones to train in and why. As I said above, talk with your friend about how your week is structured and why, and I think you’ll get a clearer picture of everything.
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