Heart Rate Zone Training and Assessment

Your training time is precious so correctly monitoring your heart rate zones will help you to get the best results from your time. It is clear that far too many athletes train at too high an intensity on days when they should be going easier and too easy when they should be going harder. The Heart Rate monitor is a fantastic and very accessible tool to help maximise your training but many people fail to get the best from their equipment.

Typically we work on 5 “zones”  between certain percentages with zone 1 being very easy and 5 very hard, the zones broadly equate to physiological changes in the way the body reacts to and fuels exercise. You will hear people talk about a “Long Zone 2 run” but how do you know what that means, when you should be training in that zone, and what range of heartbeat readings constitutes zone 2?

Training zones can be defined by Maximum Heart Rate, Threshold Heart rate (once enough data is available to approximate your anaerobic threshold), Rate of Perceived exertion (“RPE” self determined on a scale of 1 to 10), Pace (running), Power output (cycling), and Critical Swim Speed (“CSS”). It is likely that we would use a combination of these methods.

There are many theoretical formulae to attempt to calculate zones, the one you will hear most often starts with “220 – your age”. This is inaccurate more often than it is correct as the maximum heart rate is different for everybody and depends on many factors. There is no substitute for going out and testing what your body really can do.

We offer a field test protocol to establish your effective maximum heart rate* and will then calculate the correct zones for you. The results of the field test will be cross referenced to a calculation involving your resting heart rate to check for anomalies and will include guidance on other ways of monitoring your efforts.

£40:00: We will meet you before the test, advise on and oversee the process, produce a written report and advise on the zones you should be using. If it is something you struggle with we can set up the zones on your watch/device/Garmin connect.

£20:00: The conditions under which you take the test are important so you will always get the best results from an overseen test but we will advise you on method and then analyse a device file (best) or Strava track (not ideal but doable), prepare a report and calculate the zones from data provided by you.



* The test will give a workable figure for your maximum that you could reach in the specific exercise tested. We cannot guarantee absolute accuracy as environmental factors can come into play and the test should be repeated and the result monitored over other high intensity efforts. Maximum heart rates achieved will vary between sports. There are different tests that we may use depending on your circumstances and experience.