Optimise your training zones, with Zone Training:
The perfect way to maximise your training and take the guess work out of it!
You might be wondering what I am talking about? Well, the concept is quite scientific, but the easiest way to understand it is that typically, we mostly train in the same ‘zone’. We do the same sort of exercises, with the same sort of effort and pace.
So many athletes I meet do the same run, the same distance, at the same intensity and then wonder why they never improve their time or manage to go further.
Training at the same pace, will mean we always stay at the same pace.
So, if we unlock the knowledge of your optimum training zones then we unlock your potential faster and will see results quickly.
It means we prevent over training and ensure quality of quantity in your training plan.
Quality over Quantity:
It’s an excellent way to train if you are a busy person and need to make your training quality and time efficient. It means when you exercise we can really get the most out of it in the least time. Winning all round!!
Why Understand your zones:
- Prevents over training that is likely to lead to injury. We’ve all been in that horrible place where it stops you training, so lets do everything we can to stay injury free!
- Allows you to have quality over quantity, when we know the zone we are working in we will see results faster and with shorter workout time
- Makes workouts more specific and varied. We can work on improving more specific elements of your ability when we know your training zones and can introduce different things into your programme to change it up a bit. Adding variety really helps with staying motivated.
What are training zones?:
Training zones are essentially a way of determining and prescribing effort levels during training sessions. The best way to describe it is a more scientific and specific way of measuring intensity zones, such as asking an individual to run at an Easy, Medium or Hard pace. It can often be categorised into ‘Green’, ‘Amber’, ‘Red’ zones to help an individual understand the effort or intensity level they should be training at.
Each zone, as identified in the table, essentially trains different ‘energy systems’ within the body and each one is very specific to each individual sport and specific training session. For example a triathlete, who’s events are endurance events lasting 2 hours plus in duration, uses very different energy systems to a sprinter, who’s events are explosive and last for seconds rather than hours! Equally, if an athlete is wanting to improve endurance they will typically train in ‘zone 2’ however to work on explosive speed you may use ‘Zone 6-7’ The zones can be measured in several ways:
RPE (rate of perceived exertion)
RPE is a method of measuring using a scale of 1-10, where 1 is easy and 10 is maximum effort. This is a really useful tool but can be subjective and can often take a bit of practice for the individual to understand how hard they are working.
Heart Rate Monitor
The zones can be determined using heart rate (HR), and once you are aware of your personal HR zones you can use the HR to guide you during your training to ensure you are working hard enough or easy enough. Obviously, this means that you need a HR to use during your training sessions.
There are limiters to using this method such as the monitors can be expensive, if you are tired, under fuelled, dehydrated and ill the numbers will be skewed, but if you use it as a guide alongside RPE it can be extremely useful.
Finally, you can use power zones to assist with your training. This is by far the most expensive method of training and is used for cycle training only. However, with expense comes accuracy!! If you are lucky enough to own a power meter or Wattbike you will be able to use this method efficiently and accurately.
How to find your zones:
There are many ways to find your personal training zones. I can do this for you in my studio through a fitness test.
For cycling we use the Wattbike to identify Functional Threshold Power (FTP) and/or Functional Threshold Heart Rate (FTHR).
Once an athletes zones have been identified we given specific measures to aim for, such as a Heart rate (155-160 beats per minute) or power (120-130 watts).
Overall the most accurate method of fitness testing is in a lab, but that can be expensive so isn’t realistic and available to most people.
The second-best method is using a test such as the fitness test that I can carry out. Equally there are methods of testing during training runs and using park run events where you can measure your average heart rate and pacing for the event.
I guide my athletes on how to do this to get the best result. These methods are much cheaper, accessible and can be repeated every 6-8 weeks to measure progress and continually adapt training to the individual’s fitness improvements.
How can you implement this?:
This is a great tool to not only guide training, ensure best results but to also motivate an individual through their training plan.
Training in an endurance zone might mean you train need to run slower. So, for example not completing your next run at full speed, but going slower to build up endurance. Or in your next cycle adding in adding in sprints or hill climbs to work through intensity levels and your training zones.
I not only conduct the fitness testing using the Wattbike but I also use ‘intensity zones’ and ‘training peaks’ to prescribe and monitor training accurately for my individual 1-1 athletes to ensure accuracy, efficiency and improvements in their training.
This is one of the ways I can truly tailor training plans you every individual. Want to find out more?