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Energy Link Performance Coaching Training Zones


Understanding Training Zones

AR           Active recovery; approx 55% - 70% of heart rate max. Effort level is low. Used for recovery purposes.

E1            Basic aerobic endurance; approx around 70 - 75% of heart rate max. Used for warming up and recovery periods between intervals, LSD (long slow distance) rides and runs and recovery swims. Provides local muscle endurance and free fatty acid mobilisation (fat burning) For energy purposes. A fair portion of training is done at this intensity.

E2            Aerobic capacity and cardiac output; approx 75 – 80% of heart rate max. Training is within your aerobic capacity. The aim is to train at or around your AeT (aerobic threshold),  improve endurance and the body’s ability to transport oxygen. This is a steady pace that can be maintained for long periods. A large portion of LSD rides and runs are done between E1 and E2. A fair portion of training is done at this intensity.

E2i           Aerobic capacity and cardiac output; approx 80 - 85% of heart rate max. This is the upper limits of aerobic capacity. You will be breathing deeper and faster and the effort level is strong however, the pace will be controlled. Used for longer endurance or strength based intervals.

E3            Anaerobic threshold and strength endurance. Approx 85 – 93% of heart rate max. Improves you sustained cruising speed (race speed) and builds strength for hills and winds and improves efficiency. This intensity is just below your AT (anaerobic threshold) and will feel solid, any higher and you will be at your threshold.

AT           This intensity is very solid and hard to maintain. The fitter the athlete the longer you can hold pace. Time trials over OD i.e.: 1500m swim, 30-40km bike and 10-15km runs are performed AT and above for shorter events. You are training on the edge and any harder and you will go into oxygen deficit and slow down. Training at this intensity for quality sets is important for optimum race performance.

E4            Vo2 maximisation, anaerobic capacity and anaerobic tolerance work; approx 93 – 120% of max hear rate. 2% of training is done at this intensity.

Important considerations:

This is a general guide, as heart rate zones will vary with each individual. It is beneficial not only to rely on training heart rate zones for monitoring and determining specific sessions. Some other useful training and monitoring tools are:

RPE (ratings of perceived exertion): Can be used as valuable monitoring feedback as this is this is the actual effort level to which the athlete feels they are working at.

The Borg Scale of Perceived exertion:

0.                  Nothing at all
0.5.               Very, very weak
1                   Very weak
2.                  Weak
3.                  Moderate
4.                  Somewhat strong
5                   Strong
7.                  Very strong
10.                Very, very strong

Cadence & speed: Combined with heart rate and/ or RPE this can be used to set guidelines for sessions and can be used to monitor improvements in technique, strength and speed. Cadence has an important role in training leg speed and efficiency bike and run.

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