Heart rate zones spell a new level of effectiveness in heart rate based training.
Training is divided into five target zones based on percentages of maximum heart rate.
With target zones, you can easily select and monitor training intensities and follow training programs.
Running intensity in Zone 1 is very low. The main training principle is that performance level improves during recovery, not during training. Sometimes, training has been so strenuous that you may not have recovered yet the next day, in which case, you can accelerate the recovery process with very light intensity training.
Endurance training occurs in Zone 2, and features an easy aerobic run. Endurance training is an essential part of every runner's training program. In fact, endurance training is the base of any training. Making progress in endurance training requires persistence.
Aerobic power is enhanced in Zone 3. Here, training intensity is higher than in zones 1 and 2 but is still mainly aerobic. Training in zone 3 can, for instance, consist of intervals followed by recovery. Running in this zone is especially effective for improving the efficiency of blood circulation in the heart and skeletal muscles.
To compete at your top potential, you will need to do some training in Zone 4 and Zone 5. In these zones, you run anaerobically in intervals of up to 10 minutes: the shorter the interval, the higher the intensity. Sufficient recovery between intervals is very important. Training in zones 4 and 5 is designed to bring the runner to peak performance.
When running in a certain zone, the idea is to utilize the entire zone. The mid-zone is a good target, but you don’t need to keep your heart rate at that exact level all the time.
Heart rate will gradually adjust to training intensity. For instance, when graduating from zone 1 to zone 3, blood circulation and heart rate can adjust in 3-5 minutes.
The response time of heart rate to an exercise of certain intensity varies according to training, recovery, environmental and other factors. It is, therefore, important to pay attention to any signs of fatigue and to react accordingly.
Target zones work best with your own maximum heart rate, aerobic and anaerobic thresholds. To determine your maximum heart rate, use the age formula (220-age) or have the value measured by a professional.
Use target zones when you train for a specific running event or for specific benefits in each of your workouts.