Heart Rate Training Zones



Training zones all depend on your current fitness type of training you do and what you are training for. If you train hard all the time you may find that during the easier training levels you become tired or lethargic afterwards.

This is because you have not trained in these heart rate training zones and have not learnt to use different types of stored energy.

The by-product of energy production is Lactic acid, these levels at rest can be as low as 1 unit and after very high intense exercise have been measured up to 25.

High lactate acid levels accumulate in the muscles causing a burning sensation causing us to slow down. Training will teach the body to cope with higher levels so we can train and race at greater intensities.

Another part of training that is ignored is recovery. Active recovery after training in level levels 2-5 is known to speed up lactic acid removal.

Basically the slower you go after finishing training during your active warm down the quicker you can recover.

You need to promote blood flow without causing any lactate acid so aim for around 20 minutes of easy exercise.

Training Zone 1 [TZ1] Heart rate 50-60%

Fat Burning Zone. This easy recovery training that is at 50-60% of maximum heart rate in that chosen sport. Running tends to be higher than cycling. For example if your maximum heart rate is 160 beats per minute (BPM) then train between 80-96 bpm.

It is important to learn to replace energy after any type of training. Expect to find that it is sometimes difficult to stop being hungry even after eating straight afterwards. Training in this zone will use up fat so expect to feel hungry for many hours afterwards.
You should be able to do this effort for 5 hours plus providing you have a carbohydrate drink, solid energy food optional.

Training between 50-60% heart rate is difficult unless you have a good level of fitness. Use this type of training for building fitness slowly. Perception of effort would be walking fast. This is low level training at its easiest.

Training Zone 2 [TZ2] Heart rate 70-75%
Train in this zone the day before intervals, not so easy that you lose any fitness but easy enough to be able to work harder tomorrow. This is 3- 5-hour effort.

This is low to medium level training. Up to 40% fat is used for this type of energy. You will recover quickly from this type of training within 36 hours depending on age fitness and uninterrupted years in sport.

A 20-35 minute work out three times a week will help you keep fit. Base work training.Perception of effort would be breathing much quicker but able to talk in short sentences. Experienced marathon runners can hold a heart rate 70-75% for the 26.2 miles.

Training Zone 3 [TZ3] Heart rate 75-85%

This is where the majority of endurance of training should be. This is not easy or very hard training. This type of training is perfect for medium length training. Too hard for easy endurance but lacks any real top end quality. You are training just under the intensity that you can only maintain for 50-70 minutes.

Do this type of training during a long training session. Complete a thorough warm up then build to 75-85% for up to 45 minutes then slow down heart rate to 65% for 15-25 minutes.Threshold efforts at intensities that you can only maintain for up to 60 minutes.
At this higher heart rate you will be using carbohydrate. You will feel tired and will be creating stress.Perception of effort would be able to keep the same average heart rate going for up to half marathon.

Training Zone 4 [TZ4]

Known as Anaerobic training. Often your heart rate will be above 85 %

This type of training is where the lactate acid caused by hard training begins to build up and accumulate in the blood. By training correctly the better you become at raising this level the greater your performance.

High intensity training that takes less than 5 minutes with all out efforts. Also when you are competing in short running races and sprint triathlons or the end of a marathon or middle or Ironman distance triathlon when you are pushing hard to the finish.

Expect your appetite to be suppressed for a while after racing and training in this hard zone. Ignore not feeling hungry and replace with carbohydrate protein and fluid as soon as possible and for the next 3 hours. You will need at least 73 hours to recover from this type of training, more if you have gone into this session tired.

Training Zone 5 [TZ5]

Also known as Redline training.

Often your heart rate will be above 90% to 100% after good warm intervals up to 30 seconds will get you above 90%. Perception of effort running 800- 1500 meters. During training in this zone you will be using your ATP system.

The Glycolitic system uses glucose and is used for hard anaerobic efforts lasting up to 2 minutes. This system does not use oxygen so you soon get into oxygen debt causing you to slow down or stop.

The above is for your information only. Seek medical advice before starting any training programme.

Also see your doctor if you have heart disease in your family or have not exercised for more than 12 months for a thorough medical check up before starting an exercise programme.