I’ve covered elsewhere on this site how to work out heart rate zones...there’s probably 50 ways of doing it with 50 different sets of zones. Your heart doesn’t work in ‘zones’ but these zones approximate the changes/responses happening in your body because of exercise/stimuli.
Well I wondered exactly what these zones do to your body. I found the answer to that on the WATTBIKE website. They use the methodology used by British Cycling…so, er, it’s probably right. Evidence: UK dominance of cycling at 2012 Olympics.
They determine training zones by percentage of maximum heart rate, percentage of maximum minute power and duration. Each training zone has a different purpose as defined in the following table:
|Training Zone||Purpose||% MHR||%MMP||RPE (1-10)/How you feel||Duration|
|Recovery||Regeneration and Recovery||< 60||< 35||1 Very relaxed. Able to carry on a conversation.||< 60’|
|1. Basic||Establish base endurance||60-65||35-45||2 Relaxed. Able to carry on a conversation.||90’-360’|
|2.Basic||Improve efficiency||65-75||45-55||3 Working. Feel warmer. Heart rate and respiration up. May sweat.||60’-240’|
|3.Intensive||Improve sustainable power||75-82||55-65||5 Hard work. Heart rate and respiration up. Carbon dioxide build-up. Sweating. Breathing hard.||45’-120’|
|4.Intensive||Push threshold up||82-89||65-75||6 Stressed. Panting. Sweating freely.||30’-60’|
|5.Maximal||Sustain a high percentage of maximal aerobic power||89-94||75-85||7 Very stressed. Gasping. Sweating heavily.||14’-40’|
|6.Maximal||Increase maximum power output||> 94||85-100||10 heavily stressed. Gasping. Sweating heavily.||4’-10’ intervals|
|Supra-maximal||Increase sprint power output||N/A||> 100||10 extremely stressful. Gasping. Sweating heavily.||Short intervals|
Your HRmax for cycling could be 5-10 bpm lower than your running HRmax so you need to either do a proper test or accept the consequences of not so doing!
Calculate your zones <here>. I based mine on 189 (5 lower than my run HRmax) and 390w. I’ve never hit 189 on bike but the zones that come out seem sensible.
|Training Zone||HR (bmp)||Power (w)|
|Recovery||< 113||< 137|
|Zone 1 Basic||114 – 123||138 – 176|
|Zone 2 Basic||124 – 142||177 – 215|
|Zone 3 Intensive||143 – 155||216 – 254|
|Zone 4 Intensive||156 – 168||255 – 293|
|Zone 5 Maximal||169 – 178||294 – 332|
|Zone 6 Maximal||> 178||333 – 390|
The following table summarises the purpose and physiological adaptation of each of the training zones.
|Training Zone||Purpose||Physiological Adaptations||Race fitness|
|Zone 0||Regeneration and recovery||Increase blood flow to muscles to flush out waste products and provide nutrients||Promotes recovery and therefore training response|
|Zone 1||Establish base endurance||Improves fat metabolism, gets muscles/tendons/ligaments/nerves used to cycling. Increases economy||More efficient use of energy. Prepares body for harder training, works on technique/skill|
|Zone 2||Improve efficiency||Improves the ability to use oxygen, produce power and increases efficiency||Able to produce more power with the same level of effort, works on technique/skill|
|Zone 3||Improve sustainable power||Improves carbohydrate metabolism, changes some fast twitch muscle to slow-twitch||Improved sustainable power, good for all cycling events|
|Zone 4||Push threshold up||Improves carbohydrate metabolism, develops lactate threshold, changes some fast twitch muscle to slow-twitch||Improved sustainable race pace, useful during tapering or pre-competition periods: too much time in this zone can cause staleness|
|Zone 5||Sustain a high percentage of maximal aerobic power||Develops cardiovascular system and VO2max, improves anaerobic energy production and speeds turnover of waste products||Improved time trialling ability and resistance to short-term fatigue|
|Zone 6||Increase maximum power output|
|Supra-maximal||Increase sprint power output||Increases maximum muscle power, develops neural control of pedalling at specific cadence||Develop race-specific skills at race pace, starting power, sprint speed, and the ability to jump away from the bunch|
Estimating Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) and Maximum Minute
- Long Slow Runs for 5k – So I need to bother and if I do what is a LSR? (the5krunner.com)