What is Zone 2, Zone 5 and what is the difference? Training based on your individual training zones can be confusing due to all the terminology and different definitions of what exactly each zone means. Here is an explanation of training zones in 2PEAK and why they are important in training.
What is a Training Zone?
A training zone is a range of exertion that defines the upper and lower limits of training intensities. They determine a set intensity for athletes to work at during an activity. Zones are defined by pulse, power (in watts), or even pace.
Training at each different zone has a different impact on your body. An example of a workout based on zones could be:
Warm up 15 minutes in zone 2, followed by 6X2 minutes at zone 5 with 2 minutes of zone 2 in between, and finally 25 minutes at zone 2 to cool down.
Training using zones is important because it ensures that athletes push hard enough during intervals, stay relaxed enough on endurance days to properly recover, and that they maintain a sustainable effort for the duration of a race. But like most things in training, zones are individual and vary greatly from athlete to athlete.
What Does Each Zone Mean?
Training in each zone has a specific meaning and purpose. There are several different methods and definitions of the training zones with some plans including as few as 3 or as many as 12 different zones. 2PEAK uses the most popular 5 zone model where each zone is as follows:
- Z5 Power Zone: (Highest Intensity) Improves your Potential/VO2max. Perform these intervals flat out, with full commitment.
- Z4 Threshold Zone: (High Intensity). Improves your race specific resistance.
- Z3 Upper Endurance Zone: (Medium to Higher Intensities) Tempo-Training in Z3 improves your endurance and ability to maintain a high speed.
- Z2 Endurance Zone: (Low to Medium Intensity). This is the basic intensity for every workout and the level at which warmup and cool down is performed.
- Z1 Recovery Zone: (Lowest Intensity – very easy) The Z1 actively promotes recovery. The whole duration is Z1 (no intensities at all)
Whether you are a cyclist runner or triathlete training with power, pulse or even speed, 2PEAK creates workouts based on your individual training zones as defined above.
How do I find my training zones?
The old school method for defining your individual zones was to do a performance test. This could be an FTP test on the bike, a 3,000 meter time trial running, or 500 time trial swimming. Based on how you preform, you know how hard you should be pushing in each zone and can structure your training based on these values.
The problem with this old school method is that your body and fitness level is constantly changing when you train. This means if you wanted to always have accurate values, you would have to constantly be doing new performance tests and reassessing your training zones. That is why 2PEAK created a solution that makes the performance testing obsolete.
Instead of basing your zones off of one performance test, we analyze all of your training data to constantly update your zones. This is available for cycling and running. Once you upload enough of your training data, 2PEAK determines your training zones and regularly update them based on if your fitness improves or declines.