Overview of the training zones for endurance sport
For an effective and successful training, it is necessary to train in the right training area, but how are the training areas defined and what is the goal of each training area.
We explain the basic factors.
Recovery (Rec) - Zone 1
The recovery training is inclined, after or before heavy loads, e.g. a competition, a demanding training session or a whole training block, to support and prepare the regeneration of the body.
Intensity of training: very non-challenging:
The heart rate (HR) should be between 60-70 % of the anaerobic threshold.
Aerobic - Basic endurance 1 - Zone 2
The Z1 training serves as economization and stabilization of the basic endurance. The energy supply takes place aerobically and largely via fat burning (training of fat metabolism). This is dominated by the fat burning, where carbohydrates are partially burned. The proportion of fat burning depends on the training shape, the food consumption and the preceded training load. Within the GA1 area, the type of burned fat can be influenced. If you train at the lower limit, you burn more unlimited peripheral fats, at the upper limit rather limited existing muscular fats.
Intensity of training: non-challenging:
The heart rate (HR) should be between 70-80 % of the anaerobic threshold.
Tempo - Basic endurance 2 - Zone 3
The Z3 training serves as economization and development of the basic endurance, as well as the enhancement of the aerobic performance capacity. Together with the area GA1 this is the most important training area. Endurance athletes should predominantly train in these two areas, thus providing the necessary basis for higher intensities.
In the Z3 range, the energy supply consists of a mixture of aerobic carbohydrate and fat burning. It cannot be given an accurate statement, which “fuel” is burned to which proportion. The Z3 area is often trained in intervals.
Intensity of training: non-challenging – medium:
The heart rate (HR) should be between 80-90 % of the anaerobic threshold.
Subthreshold - Zone 4
The Subthreshold training takes place at a high intensity area in the aerob-anaerobic transition area. In this area strength endurance and competition specific endurance and the therefor connected increase of the anaerobic capacity, can be trained best. The energy supply ensued almost exclusively via the anaerobic-lactic carbohydrate burning.
Due to the limited glycogen store the pure load duration in this area is limited to approximately 30 to 50 minutes. The training is predominantly implemented as interval training and serves as enhancement of the competition speed. Training in Zone 4 can/should enhance the performance capacity noticeably.
The actual load depends on the target load and becomes lower as the racetrack lengthens.
Intensity of training: hard
The heart rate (HR) should be between 90-100 % of the anaerobic threshold
Superthreshold / aerobic/anaerobic Capacity - Zone 5
Very high to maximum intensity for developing of speed, speed endurance and for better anaerobe mobility functions. The intensity is clearly above the anaerobe threshold in the area of maximum oxygen uptake. In this area only the healthiest athletes should train.
The training in this area is only conducted in small doses, because it can cause overdoses of training. In this area the training load is mostly measured and defined in speed and watts rather than in heart frequency.
Intensity: very hard
The heart frequency will here reach rates close to maximum.
Table of load distribution and its associated rating criteria.
A further finer subdivision of the training areas is made by many trainers and by us if necessary.
It is also possible for other trainers to choose a different distribution or description of the individual areas. Our use of the training areas, however, corresponds to the generally valid standards in today's sports science.