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Training in heart rate zones

I'm currently reading 'Be iron fit' in preparation for training for Roth next year and got to the effective heart rate training chapter where he says that training in zone 3 is junk miles and you should only really train in zone 2 and 4.

I do most of my run training in zone 3, have I been wasting my time or is he being a bit simplistic on this point?

When training for VLM earlier this year my training plan said to do the long run at an easy pace, but I find it very difficult to run that slowly, do I need to just get used to training at a slower easier pace in the knowledge that it will be better for me in the long run?


  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    you haven't been wasting your time, but you haven't been training 'optimally' training in Z2 helps build aerobic fitness, Z4 anaerobic fitness, z3 is a bit of both, but not consistently improving either in the same way. So whilst it isn't a complete waste, it is not the most efficient. As you will find throughout Be Iron Fit, it is all about making the most of your training, due to time constraints etc you have to get the most from every session. Z2 and Z4 do that, Z3 less so...or at least that's what I got from it.

    Re your running in Z3, you do need to try and slow down. When i first started training to HR, i was going too fast, and it took a lot to slow down, but i believe there were benefits to it eventually
  • largeadelargeade Posts: 166
    In zone 2 you are burning a mix of fat and glycogen (carbs). In zone 3 you are burning primarily glycogen.

    Ironman is about long event efficiency which requires you to burn fat - you have no option in this.

    Zone 2 training allows this to occur.

    Good article in 220 this month on this.
  • TRIumphantTRIumphant Posts: 850
    Stick with BeIronFit. Initially, Z2 running will seem slow, but as your work your way through the program you'll see that as you move from 'Base' to 'Build' to 'Peak' phases that the Z4 intervals you insert start to get longer which is where the speed get built up. Initially, it's all about endurance, long slow runs for the first 20 weeks, speed only comes in the last 10 weeks.

    It's a good program, and it does work, but it'll feel slow to begin with. Good thing is the slow stuff is during the winter and spring, when the weather os crap and it's dark, and you don;t want to go out an beast yourself
  • largeadelargeade Posts: 166
    Mmmm. Just worked out my HR zones, which makes me question what I've been doing (slight guessing on the LTs as I've not done the time trials recently). fyi I'm 41 and the max hr I've seen recently was 175.

    Zone Bike Run
    Low High LT=155 LT=165
    ----------- ------- -------
    Z1 65% 75% 101-116 107-124
    Z2 75% 85% 116-132 124-140
    Z3 85% 95% 132-147 140-157
    Z4 95% 105% 147-163 157-173
    Z5 105% 163 173

    At the weekend I ran for 2hr30 at 150bpm average, which is bang in the middle of zone 3. But my RPE was 6 (working but sustainable, able to talk in full sentences). In fact I can run at 155bpm for several hours.

    I have to question do the formulas hold as you move into middle age?
  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    I would question your max if you can run for that long at that HR. How did you find that max?
  • largeadelargeade Posts: 166
    Max HR of 175 was seen after a 5mile run, sprinting up the home-straight 10% gradient outside the hotel in Menorca @90degF a couple of weeks back.

    But zones are calculated from LT not maxHR. My understanding of calculating LT HR is that you do a 30 min TT and take the average HR for the last 20 mins. Or a 1 hour TT with the average over the last 50 mins.
  • I remember when training for the marathon, looking at the list of training zones and even though when I run my heart rate is around 160 I can easily maintain a conversation and run for over 2 hours without discomfort so took it that I wasn't going too hard. I will try and slow down to adapt to the plan though.

    Another point re 'Be Iron fit' is the long bike on a Saturday and long run on a Sunday bit. I remember reading the article by Joe Friel http://www.220triathlon.com/train/conqu ... man-part-1 which says that you shouldn't do the long run the day after a long bike and if you have to do them consecutively it should be the other way round with the run on the Saturday and bike on Sunday.

    Has anyone experienced any problems with niggles or injuries doing the Bike on Saturday and run on Sunday or is this ok?
  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    Ah, I would hazard a guess that you may have been close to max in that case... I don't use TH HR as I was using the Be Iron Fit plan which is based on % of max - and only has 4 zones. Which could explain the differences. Also estimating your LT point may throw it a touch too
  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    Simon - re the sat/sun thing. i didn't find any trouble - but i did get a minor injury to me knee when i started to throw in the Z4 efforts. My view is that on the day I will ride before I run, so my legs will have a long ride in them when i start - I may as well get used to starting a long run with a long ride in my legs...plus the BIF long run has a ride the same day which i would often turn into a ride/run brick due to time constraints

    Although joe seems to know his stuff so maybe there is something to that? not sure - what was his reasoning?
  • largeadelargeade Posts: 166
    Ah, that explains it. When I use Don's zones I get a zone 2 of 135-153 which fits much better.

    fyi I used http://mile141.co.uk/triathlon/calculator.aspx . As I didnt collapse in Menorca I suspect my absolute max is probably a bit more, around 180bpm in a lab; and resting hr = 42.

    Personally I try to seperate my long run and long bike, but I'm an injury magnet. However I'm not sure I'm going too be able to do this for this years ironman training due to week day time constraints so we shall see.
  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    As i had a touch of achillies tendonitis and other probs during my IM training (weeks 15 - 20 or so, then a knee injury weeks 23 - well i still have soune trouble) i swaped a few runs for bike session to help manage the problems, and apart from an injury reoccuring mid run in IM i wasn't too badly troubled by running fitness. So if you find anything like that, I'd say swap one of the midweek bricks for a longer ride, and if absolutely needed, do a second 'long' bike instead of the run every other week or something. Hopefully you wont need to but i found that helped me recover enough to get to the start line at least. Although i was feeling it 17 or 18 miles into the run as I had only done 2 runs of 17 and one of 20 - i felt a little short there on the day tbh but i was in so much pain i couldn't have moved any faster anyway
  • Basically Joe says that you should do your long run whilst you are relatively fresh to avoid injury and says that the assumption that your going to do the run following the bike on the day meaning you should do the training run the day following the bike is wrong and will actually increase your chance of injury.

    This is the quote:

    "The keys to injury prevention are proper shoes, a flat footstrike (not on your heels or toes), forgiving running surfaces, a gradual progression of duration, limiting the duration of the long run and doing the long run only when your legs are relatively fresh.

    This last point is critical. Many Ironman athletes do their long run the day after a long bike ride, believing that it will simulate the tired legs they’ll experience on race day. This is a mistake that greatly increases the risk of injury. The day after a long ride, your legs are experiencing chronic fatigue, whereas on race day they’re suffering from acute fatigue. They’re different states.

    If possible, separate your long run from your long ride by several days so chronic fatigue isn’t an issue. Your risk of injury will decrease significantly and the quality of both workouts will increase. If they must be back to back on the weekend due to time constraints during the week, do your long run on Saturday and your long ride on Sunday."

    I don't know what the difference between chronic and acute fatigue is but it kind of makes sense to me and I've picked up a re-occurring calf strain which means I don't run as often as I like anyway to try and protect it, so I'm a bit nervous about making it worse.
  • largeadelargeade Posts: 166
    That "conquer ironman" plan Simon linked to http://www.220triathlon.com/train/conqu ... man-part-1 says of long runs: "a long run every other week... ' and '...Skip one week in every three to make sure your legs are recovering." (I think this means a week without runs??)

    I'm still researching what will suit me but that seems like a lot of rest(!), if not a little contradictory. However some of the advice about hitting the volume before starting the build phase looks pretty good.

    Simon, only one thing got rid of my recurring calf strain - compression socks (okay, and lots of sports massage). I wouldnt do a long run without my 2xu calf guards as they keep swelling down from micro tears without NSAIDs, and wear them the whole day after. I found my calf was going mid run, well after warm up - the swelling from minor stuff was putting extra pressure on the muscles causing them to fail.
  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    That's very interesting - particularly as the BIF plans have you do just what told not to there...strange. I'm not entirely sure what the difference is between chonic and acute fatige in that context... i think it may also depend on how quickly you recover - and how hard you do your bike ride? But then i'm not sure. I didn't injure myself on my long runs, it was only when i started to up the intensity of the runs, mid week when i hurt myself. Although, I have nothing even approaching a 'flat footstrike' nor a forgiving running surfact for that matter... it is interesting though and i htink part of the reason so many people get injured is that we get so many differing points of view from 'experts' on what/not to do. Maybe thats another thread though.
  • wyno70wyno70 Posts: 189
    Another vote for Ironfit and have just completed my first ironman having followed it.

    Highly recommended from me.

    I'd have another look at your maths largeade as I'm 40 and my numbers were quite different to yours for respective HR Zones:

    Bike Z1 112 - 127, Z2 128 - 146. Z3 147 - 152. Z4 153 - 163.
    Running Z1 118 - 134, Z2 135 - 154, Z3 155 - 161, Z4 162 - 172.
  • largeadelargeade Posts: 166

    by wyno70

    I'd have another look at your maths largeade as I'm 40 and my numbers were quite different to yours
    Problem is hr "zones" mean different things to different people (could be based on LT HR, Max HR, Max HR + Resting HR, and maybe something else??).

    I see you've not posted your calculation basis, whereas I did both times. So how do I know your numbers are right

    The original table I posted was based on calculating zones from LT HR (and I've shown the percentages of LT HR that I used to get the numbers). In the second post I recalculated Zone 2 using Don Finks method as 135-153 (using http://mile141.co.uk/triathlon/calculator.aspx)

    I do make mistakes, but my maths degree means I always make sure to show my workings.
  • wyno70wyno70 Posts: 189
    A bit too technical for me, I did mine on the back of a fag packet using the finger in the air method.

    It worked fine too!

  • Thanks Largeade, I'm going to have to give the compression socks a go.

    I had a few sessions at Six Physio to get me through the marathon including physio, acupuncture and prescribed exercises and it worked a treat, but it's too expensive to keep going back so I'm willing to give the socks a chance.

    I remember meeting some Doctor of sports science at the VLM expo who had supposedly developed some unique compression socks. I'll have to try and dig out the flyer when I get home.

    Do you wear them when competing as well?
  • largeadelargeade Posts: 166
    When I'm allowed I do.

    WTC banned them last year but have since reversed that decision. I wore them for both HIMs this year, and confirmed it with the rule chap at Wimbleball.

    As I understand it ITU have banned them this year. I didnt wear them at Blenheim.

    Non-medical compression socks are generally all the same as they all have to meet some low compression standard. Mine are wearing out after a season so I was looking at the compressionsport ones, IIRC theres always a code in 220 to get money off.
  • wyno70wyno70 Posts: 189
    +1 for calf guards and compression tights.

    I find them most useful either during or after a long run.

    I wear them any time I can.
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