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Hi, i'm trying to follow a Joe Friel Power Meter programme on the bike and have followed all his instructions in setting Power and Heart Rate zones but whilst doing Aerobic Endurance workouts, he suggests that i work in HR Zone2 (which should feel comfortable).  for me, this starts at 131 bpm but in order to do that i need to be cycling in power zone 5 and then gradually drop the power as time progresses. i'm spending about 13 minutes above my power threshold and then the lactic acid kicks in and i get progressively more tired - it doesn't feel 'comfortable' at any time.

i'm training on a Wattbike and keeping my cadence between 90 and 95.  I'm using the FRIEL HRZ system and my FTP was set on the wattbike using the 20 minute test then subtracting a % (FTP 205) (MMP 400)

my question is whether i should drop down to work in HRZ1 or just take a couple of man-up pills and wait for my legs to strengthen?


  • Not an expert at all this - but would say that working between Zone's 1 - 5 and as you are finding it difficult isn't how it is suppose to be therefore why not use perceived effort opposed to quantum training maths.

    As a guide I follow the below:

    Zone 1 - 60 - 65% of Max HR Recovery (Easy pace feels nice and light) walk/jog - my marathon pace

    Zone 2 - 65 -75% of Max HR Steady (Fairly easy, enough so that you can breath just through your nose if you wanted to) jog/run - my half marathon pace

    Zone 3 - 75 - 80 % of Max HR Tempo (Fairly hard, but sustainable pace) run - my 5/10k pace 

    Zone 4 - 80 - 90% of Max HR Race Tempo (Hard pace, sustainable but requires focus) hard run - only training  

    Zone 5 - 90 - 100% of Max HR Red line (Very hard pace, requires real focus, not sustainable for long) Interval sprints - very rarely/training   

    You probably already know the above but if new hope it helps


  • gavinpgavinp Posts: 168

    If you are trying to stay at a high cadence of 90-95 then you will never be able to drop down to zone 2. Get down to around 50-60 cadence and your heart rate will drop into the required zone.

    Also, make sure the Wattbike is on it's easiest setting.

  • HarryDHarryD Posts: 425


    So your average HR was 162 for the 20 minutes you measured it? Sounds reasonable. A few things to consider:

    1. Allow 4 or 5 minutes of cycling to warm up and largely ignore your HR. Your blood is fully saturated with oxygen when you start & your heart only increases in rate as the oxygen is used up and replaced by carbon dioxide. Expect your heart rate to lag your power output

    2. JFs guide allows you to train across power zones while working within a given HR zone. If you maintain a given HR during a ride expect your power to slowly reduce over that ride. The degree of that decoupling is a measure of aerobic fitness and is described in his Power Meter book

    3. Don't forget to regularly re-test for your zones (monthly?) as you can expect big changes over the first few months. Also just doing the tests and being more skilled at them has an effect


  • diogeldiogel Posts: 3

    Thank you HarryD - O2 saturation is a good point - i'm currently  warming up for 10 minutes but am having to increase the resistance considerably in the last minute even though i have taken my cadence up to 115.  i suppose an even longer warm up is an answer.

    my query is more about having to go past my FTP and as a result start producing lactic acid which in turn will reduce the maximum duration of the workout.  with time and practice, will it become easier to get my heart rate up or will i need to keep exceeding FTP in order to train this way (even though the FTP will increase as i get fitter and stronger)?  It's the decoupling which worries me as i drop from approx. 230w at the start of the test to around 170w after 30 minutes - i also struggle to continue much longer than 30 minutes.  and understanding that as i get stronger i will need to increase the load to get the same effects on HR how am i going to get past this duration if it is the lactic acid which is causing the fatigue.

    i don't like the idea of bringing down my cadence as this is the cadence i like to keep on the road and the one i have been advised to keep by a cycling specialist coach.

  • HarryDHarryD Posts: 425

    Diogel, some comments on what you've said

    1. As you train your body will adapt and get fitter so expect to warm up quicker and your HR to rise quicker

    2. When I do the same test the warm up last around 30minutes of mixed cadence and intensity riding followed by a quick pee then its all systems go. Probably easier on the road than indoors

    3. Don't worry too much about short intervals (a minute or two) above FTP as any lactate produced should be at fairly low levels and the body will very quickly remove it from circulation. It is the associated acidosis that causes muscle 'burn' but that will also go fairly quickly

    4. I would suggest doing the test again but after a few easy/recovery days. The massive decoupling and the fact you are struggling suggests that the test results were not great. As I posted earlier, doing the test correctly is a skill and takes a few efforts to get reliable results. It is a matter of getting the maximum average HR/power over the 30minutes and you can't do this going too hard to start with. The smoother the power profile the higher should be the average. My first effort started at 246W and ended at 221W. The retest six weeks later was 268W to 260W.

    5. You haven't posted your latest FTP or LTHR. It surprises me that you can do a maximal test lasting 30minutes but you find it difficult to train sub-maximally (81%-89% LTHR) for much longer than the far more demanding test.

    Try a fresh test with a more even power profile and let your HR build over the first minutes which you discard anyway. It may take several tests (at say one per month - you won't want to do them more often) to get reliable figures.


  • diogeldiogel Posts: 3

    Thank you for that information - i think you must be correct about my FTP being out of date (even though it's only 3 weeks old).  i carried it out on a Wattbike and had a number in my head beforehand so i probably didn't give it enough - even though it felt like everything at the time.

    I have just completed a hilly ride totalling 53 minutes with an average power of 215w and a normalised power of 226w.  During a 19 minute Cat 3 climb my NP was 247w.  this all suggests that i need to get the bucket out and spend 20 minutes on the wattbike!!

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