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Very confused about heart rate zones. Help!

Hello everyone. I'm new to this website and tried to search for the answer to my question without success, so please forgive me if this has been asked a million times before!

I understand that there are different ways to calculte maximum heart rate and that it will be highest on the run, a bit lower on the cycle and lower still on the swim. However, I'm sooo confused about how to work out an appropriate training zone.

My plan was to mix up longer steady sessions to build endurance with shorter faster sessions to build speed. But everywhere I look tells me to calculate it differently. The 'aerobic zone' seems to be variously described as between 60 - 70% of maxHR or 70 - 80% of maxHR, with the 'threshold training zone' at either 70 - 80% or 80 - 90%. Which is it?? Or does it vary depending on what sport you are doing?

Also, different places have different ways of working out the percentage! Should it be 70% of my actual maxHR or 70% or my 'working range' (ie deducting resting rate before the calculation than adding it back on)?

I suspect this is a case of 'a little bit of knowledge' and I'd be really grateful for some advice from those with much more experience that me. Thanks!

Comments

  • bathtubbathtub Posts: 280
    Theres loads of different info on the web and like you have found out it can be quite confusing.

    I would suggest you find one particular method and stick to that.

    I follow a lot of Joe Friels advice, For his HR zones he works to % of lactate threshold,

    A link explaining all this is here :-

    http://www.trainingbible.com/joesblog/2 ... zones.html
  • Thank you very much for your reply. OK so I'm understanding that there isn't one agreed method of working out heart rate training zones and there's an element of personal preference involved. At least I can now stop trying to match them all up with each other! :roll:

    I've only recently got a heart rate monitor and I (foolishly) thought it would make things really easy and straight forward. But I guess if I look at what my heart rate monitor is saying and compare to how hard I feel I'm working I'll gradually work out which system seems to suit me best.

    Thanks again. S
  • gavinpgavinp Posts: 168
    Hi Spanish

    As you get fitter your min and max heart rate will change slightly so you will want to recalibrate your watch etc with your training zones by re-testing every 6-8 weeks. If you don't, you will find that your training is too easy etc and will be wondering what's going on.
  • HarryDHarryD Posts: 424
    Agree with Bathtub. Go to Joe Friels blog and work out your own heart rate zones based on your performances. His zones are very specific & once you get your head around them they work incredibly well. But you will need to get hold of his training guides for the full breakdown on how and when to use them.

    There is a lot of nonsense talked /written about heart rates zones including one well known coach who has the aerobic/endurance zone from 55 to 80% of heart rate max. You will also find confusion as to what a tempo session is or what a cruise interval is. Stick to Joe Friels definitions and intensities. No wonder you get bamboozled.

    HarryD
  • Thanks everyone. It seems that Joe Friels stuff is highly rated by folks here so I'll go away and have a read of that. I suppose I was hoping I could work our something reasonable without putting myself through a 'run to exhaustion' type test, but it seems that's necessary if I want to work out some sensible training zones. If I needed any more convincing, my heart rate monitor (which uses 220 minus your age) told me I was running at 96% of my max HR today and it really didn't feel that bad to me!

    Many thanks, S
  • gavinpgavinp Posts: 168
    Spanish wrote:
    Thanks everyone. It seems that Joe Friels stuff is highly rated by folks here so I'll go away and have a read of that. I suppose I was hoping I could work our something reasonable without putting myself through a 'run to exhaustion' type test, but it seems that's necessary if I want to work out some sensible training zones. If I needed any more convincing, my heart rate monitor (which uses 220 minus your age) told me I was running at 96% of my max HR today and it really didn't feel that bad to me!

    Many thanks, S

    ..and that is why you need to re-test yourself regularly.
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