7 Zone Training? Or 5? Or 3? Or 2 and a half?

This is a thought-provoking image from Baron Biosys’s blog post from today (they make xert). I like pretty images.

For those of us learning the Friel Bible off by heart we might look at the FTP-based zones and nod sagely whilst musing to those friends who will listen, “Ah yes, the lesser-spotted sweetspot, I know it well.

Image source: baronbiosys.com

‘Obviously’ all training for every ability-level of athlete for any distance will naturally involve 2×20′ sweetspot sessions @85% of FTP. #lol.

So, should we really use the 7 zones and sweetspots or is there a better way?

Baron Biosys conclude their musings with the inevitable (and correct) “It depends” or in their words:

Sweetspot training, when used by some athletes and for the right purposes, provides an excellent way to train.  However, for many athletes, SST amounts to the black hole of training, where it’s too hard/short to provide endurance training benefits.  Many athletes fall in-between, where depending on the specific intensity the SST falls into and its relationship to LTP and their training goals, will determine whether it is a wise training choice or not.

Duathletes aside, many of us will be just getting into our training plans for the year ahead. Before we get too set in our ways the article might be worth a quick read as a sanity-check to see if we are embarking on our triathlon travels with the right training roadmap in our pockets.

Full article: Link to: baronbiosys.com


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10 thoughts on “7 Zone Training? Or 5? Or 3? Or 2 and a half?

  1. I am always for new info that might help me better myself, so what i’m about to write is written to be humorous:

    Sweetspot training is boring.

    It really is. Maybe it’s because i’m getting older, maybe because I can function in that sweet-spot forever (not being glib here) and it doesn’t intrigue me to work there for long periods of time. I might be becoming impatient in my old age, but I am increasingly finding myself letting loose on a run. Going for a tempo run (or what supposed to be) and just yawning–quite literally, and just sprinting hard for a good half mile or so, Sure I just burned through everything (or near to), but man does it feel good to let loose!

    I’m not saying that I have no structure; I do, I just find running within the parameters all the bloody time to be…tiresome.

    1. IMH(!)O… if you can do sweetspot „forever“ (eg. because it‘s easy-boring), then the choosen intensity may not be right. SST (eg. 88-92%) should be feel intense, but manageable; without the increased „wearing out too fast feeling“. After 90-120‘ (depends on you level of endurance) you definitely should feel some good level of exhaustion.

      1. Fantastic link. If anyone doubts the value of Seilers’ words, I refer you to the results of the Norwegian cross-country ski team at the Olympics last month. They won pretty much everything!

  2. I’ve yet to find my sweet spot. But I’ve tried higdons, hansons, injury proof I’ve found McMillan and Fitzgerald the best so far. McMillan is 4 zones and 80/20 5 zones. As an aside I’ve just paused coaching myself and I’m letting TrainAsOne dole out my workouts, see if ai is any better than my self assessment. So far so good, no fatigue whatsoever but it’s early days

    1. i think a key takeaway are that the Z2/Z3 boundary and the Z4/Z5 boundary (LT1 and LT2) are actual, real, physiological things. all other zones just lie somewhere on the spectrum. so if yo udon’t have those **TWO** points both determined then you may very well spend a lot of time training in the wrong zone. I’m nowhere near an elite athlete (but a reasonable age group triathlete) yet my lab tests notably differ for LT2 than for tests following various protocols. bite the bullet and get down to your nearest sports unversity…would be my advice to avoid spending yers training incorrectly

      1. Ive had the blood lactate (sub max) tests before, local coach does it for £50-60 and Loughborough university does the whole show (maximal and sub max) for £165, whereas Birmingham Uni charge a whopping £320 for the same thing. How much are your local Uni’s charging?

  3. The Palladino project includes 10 powerzones for training. Though it is confusing, those differences in zone boundaries, if one chooses one and it works, than for me that’s the proof of the pudding (not regarding the scientific merits)

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