Friday, June 11, 2010

LTHR Training Zones - Cycling

So we have been talking about heart rate training zones. I prefer the field testing method to determine heart rate training zones.

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 - 139
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
So, 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.

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 - download here.


Matty O said...

Interesting that it is consistent like that with the 10bpm decrease for cycling. If that is the case I am nowhere near exerting effort on the bike. I need to work on this.

After this next week I was going to put all my data on a spreadsheet and figure out my training zones. I think 3 weeks of data will give me a good idea.

I will be re-reading your posts while I do that though! Great information once again!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Great post, very interesting

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

Interesting post James ... thanks for the link to the chart - very helpful.

On thursday I am doing an LT test and VO2 max to help me determine my HR zones. It will be interesting to see what the tests show compared to what I feel right now.

Also I am trying to decide to do HR Zone training using the Don fink's beIronFit plan or using an RPE type of program -- (Essential day-by-day training by Matt Fitzgerald). Have you used either of these before? Thanks!

TRI-james said...

I just looked up the reviews for beIronFit and people love it. You probably can’t go wrong. Regarding training by RPE – I have had trouble doing that in the past. With myself, I need the numbers. Depending on how I feel I can blow the workout by doing what I want to do. With heart rate, or some other quantifiable method, it forces me to work up to a set level and once there it governs the effort.

I have learned to know my RPE scale but I still like the numbers. I have read many books by Matt Fitzgerald but I am not familiar with the one you mentioned.

Good luck with your testing. I would love to know how your LT test lines up with a similar field test. Do let me know.

Carl said...

Thanks James. This was really go information. I just calculated my LT from a couple of TTs I did this year.

Is there any advantage to a high or low LT? When I did mine it was only 161...