Training in Heart Rate Zones

In my previous post, I mentioned training in a different way to keep you motivated and heart rate was one of those examples. There are plenty of different terms when talking about heart rate and how you can calculate your heart rate zones.

Aerobic means “with oxygen” this type of exercise stimulates the heart and breathing rate so that it can be sustained throughout your whole session. This is why for the Ironman we are expected to do the majority of our training in the Aerobic zone as we need endurance training more than high intensity.

Anaerobic means “without oxygen” and generally refers to higher intensity training with short, sharp, fast movements where you get out of breath more easily like sprinting or jumping.

Threshold is a pace that you can sustain for a maximum of an hour.

The most basic way to calculate your max heart rate is to subtract your age from 226 (female) and 220 (male). If you were a 30 year old female your maximum heart rate maybe 196. This is a fairly crude measurement and there are other ways to work out your heart rate but this is a simple way to calculate to get you started. ONce you have your maximum heart rate you can work out what your different zones are.

There are 5 heart rate zones:

Zone 1 – Very Light 50-60% of your maximum heart rate

Zone 2 – Light – 60-70%

Zone 3 – Moderate – 70-80%

Zone 4 – Hard – 80-90%

Zone 5 – Maximum – 90-100%

Multiply your maximum heart rate by the minimum and maximum percentages e.g. 196 x 0.5 = 98.

For our Ironman training plan we work in 4 heart rate zones:

Zone 1 – 65-74% – lower end aerobic

Zone 2 – 75-85% – high end aerobic

Zone 3 – 86-89% – middle zone

Zone 4 – 90-95% – primary anaerobic

The heart rate zones are likely to be different between running and cycling so Don & Melanie Fink recommends 5% less for each zone for cycling.

In order to track your heart rate whilst exercising you will need a heart monitor that may be within your smartwatch or by wearing a strap. Next week’s post I will be reviewing the Garmin triathlon heart rate monitor.

Hopefully, you found this useful, let me know if you are training with heart rate zones and how you find it.



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