Why do we need zones?
The journey to race day is not linear. Your sessions will be delivered in different training zones. These zones will vary through the intensity levels from easy to very difficult. There are many different zone systems out there however what they all have in common is a parameter (Pace, power, hearts rate) and scale the varying degrees of intensity as a percentage of your threshold.
Training zones give your training structure, variety and ensures the correct distribution of your training variability to ensure optimal performance. The right training zones will ensure to help you get more out of your training, as well as reduce the risk of injury.
The idea behind training zones is to establish different levels of intensity, so you have, for example, a zone for your interval training, a zone for your endurance sessions and speed sessions etc. By calculating the correct training zones, you will be able to always know EXACTLY how fast (or intense) you have to perform each session to get the most out of your workout.
To set your training zones, you need to get a functional threshold test under your belt! More often than most when a “TEST” is found in a plan will scare you stiff and fill most athletes with dread! It is, however, a necessary evil! By setting a benchmark or baseline it is essential to set accurate training intensities and measure your development and progress.
Your lactate threshold is the point at which, during incremental exercise, lactate builds up in the blood stream at a level that is higher than you can process.
The lactate threshold is a good predictor of submaximal fitness (e.g. what exercise pace can maintained over a prolonged period of time without fatigue).
To understand what your Lactate threshold is, you will need to perform a series a tests to benchmark these values for your swim, bike and run. Once we have the results of these tests, we will be able to determine your Training Zones.
Knowing what your lactate threshold is can help your training for a couple of reasons:
- It allows you to develop a strategic training plan that helps you train smarter.
- You can track your progress over time.