One interesting aspect regarding setting your heart rate training zones using LTHR is that they will vary by sport. How is that?
Well, I have been using the term LTHR very loosely. Other terms are anaerobic threshold, aerobic threshold, and maximal lactate steady state. I am simply trying to find the heart rate that can be maintained for an extended amount of time without dipping into the red – without blowing up. This heart rate is difficult to maintain. However, once this has been determined you can train at this level. The goal is to increase your LTHR or get faster at your LTHR or hopefully both.
So I just happened to do a cycling time trial yesterday morning. It was an impromptu challenge that was scheduled the night before. There were 5 of us who would do the ‘race of truth.’ I looked up my best TT from last year and this would be my mark.
I wanted to race a good solid hard effort to determine my cycling LTHR. The time trial consists of an 11.83 mile out and back. I had the data from last year. My average heart rate for the entire 30:40 was 172 BPM at 23.0869 MPH. (Well, looking back through my blog – that is why I write this dang thing – I’m wrong. My PB for the TT was June of last year (before I used the gps watch) with a total time of 30:26 – furthermore my blog states that my average heart rate was 162 – something is fishy here – I will have to pull up the data and take a look).
Anyway, during yesterday’s effort I clicked the lap button on the gps watch 10 minutes into the TT and kept pushing hard. I finished the TT 3 seconds slower than last year – the one from July. The average heart rate for the entire time trial was 171 BPM but the average for the second 20 minutes was 174 BPM. Using this value I can now determine my heart rate training zones for cycling (notice that the percentage values are slightly different from the values used to calculate the running heart rate zones.
Zone 1: Overdistance, strength = 113 - 139So, my Zone 4 heart rate training range for the RUN is 175 – 184 and for the BIKE it is 164 – 173. These are my tempo zones for my hard efforts. These areas are challenging. Funny how the old rule of thumb is that biking heart rates will be about 10 BPM less than running heart rates at the same intensity.
65% - 80% LTHR
Zone 2: Endurance, strength = 140 - 155
81% - 89% LTHR
Zone 3: Endurance, strength = 156 - 163
90% - 93% LTHR
Zone 4: Intervals, hills, race/pace = 164 - 173
94% - 99% LTHR
Zone 5: Racing, speed = 174 - 185
100% - > 106% LTHR
These calculations are mostly based off of The Cyclist's Training Bibleand The Triathlete's Training Bibleby Joe Friel.
I also found this great excel spreadsheet at sisu-multisport.com - download here.