Training Zones and Intensity Chart

Well, as a start to my discussion of how I’ve formulated my 12 week Half Ironman training program, there was a lot of discussion about training Intensity, and the total amount of Intensity in a week, and the amount of time at Intensity in a particular workout.

So how is training Intensity defined?…well, as you may have seen as a recurring theme…it all depends on who you ask…and let me tell you, that there are some _wide_ variations on the ‘training zones’ are, and how they are defined.

These Intensity Zones are also used as guidance on race day.  As an example I expect to race my Half Ironman at 80% Intensity (Ironman 70%)…if I want to race faster, I would train to increase my maximum capacity (speed/power) so that the 80% of maximum is a higher number…not just try to race at 90% and blow up.

Here’s a useful summary chart of some of the common medical definitions and coaches that are widely quoted and their definitions, so that I can refer to it:

As a practical matter the ‘medical’ terms we may discuss at some future point, but more for reference so that it’s in one spot.

The long and the short of it is this:

if you want to get faster, you will need to train faster…that is to say, train in the higher, harder Zones…at least some of the time…and that amount of time largely depends on how much your body can ‘absorb’ and still be fresh enough for the next workout(s)…and not have a body part break, because it’s overstrained…or simply get sick, because your body has tried everything else to tell you that it’s-just-too-much

…so we’ll call this the ‘break’ line: the point that you cannot complete a workout(s) as planned 

…so the idea is this: get in as much hard work as you can, while staying under the ‘break’ line

…oh, and ‘volume’ of training also counts as ‘work’ so needs to be factored into training ‘load’

Soooo, do you need to know any of this stuff to train for Ironman…nope…lots of folks do without it…do you need to think about Intensity in workouts, and training ‘load’ and all of that…nope…some folks get out there and just do what feels good to them.

And definitely not important if your weekly ‘long’ bike ride is tooling around the neighbourhood with your kids while drinking a cup of coffee.

It’s only important if you want to optimize your race performance, be as efficient as possible for every hour that you train, and not break something in the attempt… 🙂

more to come…

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