Staying in Zone 2

  • Creator
  • #21758

    Hey all,

    I just started the 24 week program and am loving it so far. With the HR drift test I determined that my AET is ~135, so I’ve set zone 2 from 120-135. At this point, in order to stay in zone 2 I need to be constantly switching between brisk walking/hiking and slow jogging (depending on the grade/terrain). At a brisk walk, my HR drops to 115 pretty fast. At a slow jog especially with any uphill, it shoots up to 140-145. I feel like a lot of my effort is in the 130-140 range (AET +/-5, I’ve attached a recent workout for reference)

    I don’t particularly mind this game of heart rate ping pong – I trust that with time and training I will be able to maintain a faster pace in zone 2. That being said I wanted to ask – are these zone 3 spikes going to be detrimental? Should I slow down and be really careful not to pass AET at all costs? Or are a few seconds here and there expected and tolerable?


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  • Participant on #21795

    Talking from personal experience:

    Beware of the slow jog / fast walk routine. It will conceal your real progress because you will have to go through a long period where your average speed doesn’t increase much, or perhaps even gets slower.

    As you improve, you can do more of the slow jogging and less of the fast walking and still maintain your heart rate. However, if your jogging is only a bit faster than your walking, your average speed will only increase slightly. If your jogging speed and walking speed is equal, your average speed will not increase at all.

    And if you are in the situation that I was in – that my slow jogging was slower than my walking – then your average speed will actually get slower as you improve.

    I solved this by forcing myself to jog really, really slow. I had to start at 4 km/h (15 minutes/km or 24 minutes/mile), which was only 2/3 of my walking speed.

    I have absolutely no idea whether this was a good idea from a training perspective. But
    from a purely motivational perspective it felt terrific. I could see my jogging speed increasing slowly and steadily over the months, which made me confident that I was on the right track.

    (Well, slowly and steadily is not entirely true. The progress came in “lumps”, interspersed with weeks of stagnation.)

    Anonymous on #21806

    Running (especially at 24min/mile) is less economical than walking so energy costs/HR will be higher when running . But, if you want to become better a running you should run even if very slowly to get better at it. We do use the run/walk progression for clients new to running and with aerobic deficiency. However, Allan makes a good point about being able to chart progress. The way we chart progress is to use a standard course you can do an aerobic threshold time trial on every 2 weeks. We don’t like to track progress daily because some days will be faster and some days slower at AeT, good days and not so good days. The adaptation process is not a smooth upward slope. It is more of a jagged sawtooth graph with upward trend.


    Brian.furciniti on #21816

    Thanks for the input guys. I’ve definitely noticed that my pace on hilly terrains is pretty hard to use to track my progression. That being said I can maintain a jog @AET when running on flats, so I plan to use a nearby flat circuit to judge my pace over time.

    My main concern is the amount of time I spend a few beats above AET due to unexpected hills, short accelerations to catch a stop light, or even just natural variations in my pace. Is it safe for my Zone 2 runs to barely drift into Zone 3 for 5-10% of the duration? Or should I just slow down and not ride so close to AET.


    ryan.ernstes on #50862

    Hey Brian – I’d love to know the answer to this (your concern about crossing into Zone 3 even for 5-10% of your workout). Did you ever find an answer?

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