TftNA zones and Z1/Z2

  • Creator
  • #60913

    I am reading TftNA again which includes a fairly convention description of heart rate zones (chart on p.57). These (and the associated descriptions) are based on HR max zones and don’t directly map to zones based on AeT and AnT.

    Here’s the question: what’s the best way to adjust or modify the HR-based training guidance in TftNA for AeT-based zones?

  • Participant
    Nate Emerson on #60983

    Bill, the answer depends on each athletes training history. It’s helpful to understand the differences between TftNA and TftUA. The HR Zone guidance in TftNA is more relevant for elite and very highly-trained athletes, while the guidance in TftUA gives more consideration to a broader range of training backgrounds. The HR-based training guidance in TftUA is probably more appropriate for a majority of amateur athletes.

    In this forum thread, Scott explains how he arrived with the TftNA HR-based Zones and associated training guidance:

    Confusion – Zone 1 + 2: TftNA vs TrainingPeaks

    For anyone else using TftNA, it’s worth understanding the difference. You can refer to the guidance in the training plan and numerous articles and forum discussions on the Zone 1 / Zone 2 allocation. Here are the comments from the Anaerobic Threshold Test:
    {If the difference is 10% or less of the AnT HR then you will need to reduce the amount of Z2 training and substitute more Z1 for your aerobic base training or you will run the risk of overtraining by running too fast (Z2) too much of the time. If the spread between AeT and AnT is more than 10% then do all of your aerobic base training in Z2. Redo the AeT test that you did on day 1 each month if this is the case. As your aerobic base improves and your AeT HR and pace move upward you will need to adjust the volume of Z2 down.}

    Here’s one example of what this looks like on the highly-trained end of the spectrum:
    For highly-trained athletes who have spent years/decades optimizing their aerobic engine, substantial training in Zone 2 will be too fatiguing and unsustainable. To put this in perspective, AeT Pace for a world class marathoner (sub 2:10) is essentially race pace. The musculoskeletal demand is simply too high to do too many workouts at this intensity on a regular basis. For these types of athletes, Zone 2 training volume has to be carefully titrated. Zone 1 is more appropriate for most/many of their low intensity sessions. This is just one explanation why TftNA advises to train mostly in Z1.

    For athletes who have not spent years or decades deliberately working on improving true aerobic fitness, much or all of their low intensity training can be done in Zone 2.

    Each athlete is different, and the allocation between Zone 1 and Zone 2 will vary. The more training history you have, the more you will know what you can tolerate and what will be too much.

    bill on #60992

    Nate – Thanks for the clarifications. I think I understand the Z1 and Z2 differences. They make sense but I was asking a different question, which may have not been very clear…

    The zone system used in TftNA is based on max heart rate and ventilatory response rather than AeT and AnT. What is the best way to map our AeT/AnT based zone system to the zone-based training described in TftNA? Do I just lay my current AeT-based zones over the HRmax derived zones? Or something else?

    I guess my confusion is rooted in how many different ways “zone” is defined… the AeT/AnT version, the HRmax version, the TP version and knowing how to translate between them.

    Nate Emerson on #61009

    Bill, Sorry I misunderstood your original question. For the most part, you can follow the TftNA training suggestions using your AeT/AnT-based zones. Zones 1-4 should line up, with Zone 5 hopefully easy to understand.

    Before deciding to implement the TftNA training guidance, please note that TftNA was written prior to understanding just how many athletes had a large gap between AeT and AnT. Each athlete needs to understand their personal allocation between Zone 1 and Zone 2 training time in order to optimize their training. Most athletes will need to do more Zone 2 than is suggested in TftNA’s guidance. In my response to your original question, I tried to give some background to explain this key point. TftNA doesn’t quite capture this issue. Scott explained the challenges in presenting zone information to a wide variety of athletes in TftNA in this forum thread:

    How to Set Up Your Training Intensity Zones

    Because of the reasons explained in Scotts forum response, TftNA zones were presented in the more conventional % Max HR. Please note the explanation (pg. 55) that % Max HR is often used in situations where athletes have not found their thresholds/zones through more precise testing. While % Max HR is a traditional and effective method of setting training zones, don’t use it to set your zones if you can instead use your AeT and AnT. The AeT and AnT field tests we describe are easy to replicate, so they can be used periodically to check for changes over a long training cycle and adjust zones as needed. There are valid methods to further divide zones, but these methods quickly risk getting too granular to provide meaningful benefit to the athlete. Most athletes will reap much more benefit by using a simple zone system and putting more attention into managing lifestyle factors and improving training decisions involving specificity.

    The TftNA descriptions of “ventilation” and “feeling” are valid, and it’s very helpful to be aware of these factors (think mountain situations where you can’t check your wearable tech – mountain weather, cold weather clothing, technical situations, beacon interference, etc.). Spend time increasing awareness of these factors, as they can eventually be quite accurate informing you of your training intensity.

    TP Zones:
    If you haven’t already, set up your TrainingPeaks HR zones using the AeT/AnT-defined 4 zone system. Please refer to the link that was included in the notes with your AeT and AnT tests:

    How to Set Up Your Training Intensity Zones

    Make sure that your “threshold” is entered correctly, as this is the most important factor in the TrainingPeaks impulse-response calculations.

    bill on #61011

    Nate – Thanks! Your detailed response is really helpful. I am basing all of my training on AeT and AnT as we’ve been talking about it and I am fairly certain I have TP set up correctly, too. My question came out of my desire to take advantage of all the knowledge baked into TftNA and want to be sure I am properly mapping between older approach (based on HRmax) to this newer one, based on AeT/AnT.

    While I’ve trained to the point of having a measured less-than-ten-percent difference between AeT and AnT, I am not there now. I have a lot of base rebuilding in front of me before I worry much about doing too much Z2 training!

    – Bill

Viewing 4 replies - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.