Effort variation within Zone 2

  • Creator
  • #70455

    Hi Folks,
    Suppose hypothetically, someone has an AET of 150. Which type of Z2 training would be most effective?:
    1. Train right near 150 (but staying slightly below) in a steady state fashion for the duration of the workout.
    2. Vary effort within Z2. So suppose Z2 is 120-150 (Z1 below). Then run or cycle by varying HR between 120-150 for the duration of the workout.
    3. Do steady state but on different days, vary effort within Z2. Example: on sunday long run, do steady state at 130 and on Wednesday shorter run, do steady state at 145.

    I was listening to a Peter Attia podcast about Z2 and he seems pretty firm in the idea that one needs to do steady state at a constant power. But I have never heard anyone present science about whether you need to have constant effort. Intuitively, I would think some variation below Aet is okay as long as you don’t go above it.

  • Participant
    Mariner_9 on #70500

    I don’t think option 1 makes sense assuming we’re talking about running uphill and downhill and not just on flat ground. To get HR to 150 on downhills, for example, might not be possible. I think option 2 is a lot more realistic.

    kr94@yahoo.com on #70512

    Yeah varying terrain is a problem which is why Attia recommends doing it on an indoor bike. I’m just wondering if we really need to be that strict about it.

    Dada on #70531

    My three cents:

    1) the closer you train to your AeT the better because you recruit the maximum number of ST fibers

    2) training that close to the AeT becomes very taxing, so you might need to reduce volume

    3) AeT could be higher than your fatmax HR; so I would try to identify fatmax with a gas exchange test and train there; this is probably the best compromise


    kr94@yahoo.com on #70583

    Dada thanks for your insights. Is the relationship between Fat Max and Aet fairly random or is there a rule of thumb (example: typically 5% below Aet)? Just wondering if there is a rule of thumb to use in the absence of a full lab test.

    Dada on #70698


    I had the same idea like you and read a couple papers about that. The fatmax is so highly personell that I discarded that idea.

    What could work, and that idea just came to my mind, is a fatmax field test.

    So the night before the actual test, workout in Z2 to empty your glycogen storages (but not too hard otherwise your HR will be suppressed). Afterwards, don’t eat carbs at all. Next morning, dont eat anything, warm up properly, then make a 1 hour test where you try to go as fast as possible for one hour. Start at your AeT as orientation. Take the average HR for the last 20 minutes. Then enjoy your breakfast 😉

    The last 20min HR should show your fatmax HR. I observe a ceiling on long tours which is around 5-10 beats below my AeT. And the test above could be representation of this pattern.

    Let me know how this worked.


    kr94@yahoo.com on #70710

    Dada, thanks for laying that out! It sounds like a really useful way to approach this. Yeah, I’m going to give that test a try and I’ll report back.

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