Training Zones

Training zones in endurance sports provide a structured framework for athletes to optimize their training and achieve specific physiological adaptations. The reasons for having training zones:

  1. Individualization: Training zones allow athletes to tailor their training to their specific fitness level, goals, and abilities. By establishing personalized zones based on physiological markers such as heart rate, power, or lactate threshold, athletes can ensure that their training is appropriate and effective for their unique needs.

  2. Progression and Periodization: Training zones enable athletes to plan their training in a progressive and periodized manner. By varying the intensity and volume of training within different zones over time, athletes can systematically challenge their bodies, stimulate adaptations, and avoid stagnation or overtraining.

  3. Targeted Adaptations: Each training zone elicits specific physiological responses. By training in different zones, athletes can target and develop various energy systems, such as aerobic capacity, lactate threshold, or anaerobic power. This approach leads to comprehensive improvements in endurance, speed, efficiency, and overall performance.

  4. Training Efficiency: Training within specific zones helps athletes optimize their training time and effort. By matching the intensity of their workouts to the desired training effect, athletes can achieve maximal gains while minimizing the risk of injury, fatigue, or burnout.

  5. Performance Monitoring: Training zones provide a quantitative and objective way to monitor an athlete’s progress and assess performance. By tracking improvements in the ability to sustain higher intensities within specific zones, athletes can gauge their fitness levels, set realistic goals, and evaluate the effectiveness of their training programs.

Overall, training zones serve as a valuable tool for endurance athletes to structure their training, target specific adaptations, monitor progress, and optimize their overall performance and long-term development.

In MATS we use the 5 zones training model, which provides a framework for structuring training intensity based on the balance between low-intensity and high-intensity training.

The Norwegian 5 training zones are as follows:

  1. Zone 1 – Easy/Recovery: This zone focuses on low-intensity, easy-paced workouts aimed at promoting recovery, developing aerobic base, and improving overall endurance.

  2. Zone 2 – Long Slow Distance (LSD): This zone involves moderate-intensity workouts that build aerobic capacity and endurance. It typically includes longer, steady-state efforts that challenge the cardiovascular system.

  3. Zone 3 – Tempo: This zone targets the lactate threshold and involves training at a sustained effort just below the anaerobic threshold. Workouts in this zone improve lactate tolerance, aerobic power, and sustainable race pace.

  4. Zone 4 – Threshold: This zone corresponds to efforts above the lactate threshold. Training in this zone enhances the ability to sustain high-intensity efforts, improves aerobic performance, and increases the anaerobic threshold.

  5. Zone 5 – VO2max: This zone focuses on high-intensity intervals at or above VO2max, challenging the body’s oxygen uptake capacity and improving aerobic power.

This training zones model emphasizes a polarized training approach, with a significant amount of training conducted in the lower intensity zones (Zone 1 and Zone 2) and a smaller portion at higher intensities (Zone 3 to Zone 5). This approach aims to optimize performance by prioritizing both aerobic development and high-intensity adaptations.

Training zones used by MATS 3-ZONE-MODEL POWER % based on treshold power

LIT

0 %

80 %

MIT

81 %

100 %

HIT

101 %

8000 %

PACE % based on treshold pace

LIT

threshold*2,5

threshold*(1/0,80)

MIT

threshold*(1/0,81)

threshold value

HIT

threshold*(1/1,01)

threshold*(1/1,75)

5-ZONE-MODEL POWER % based on treshold power

Zone 1

0 %

72 %

Zone 2

73 %

80 %

Zone 3

81 %

100 %

Zone 4

101 %

108 %

Zone 5

109 %

8000 %

PACE – RUN ONLY % based on treshold pace

Zone 1

threshold*2,5

threshold*(1/0,72)

Zone 2

threshold*(1/0,73)

threshold*(1/0,80)

Zone 3

threshold*(1/0,81)

threshold value

Zone 4

threshold*(1/1,01)

threshold*(1/1,08)

Zone 5

threshold*(1/1,09)

threshold*(1/1,75)

PACE – SWIM ONLY % based on treshold pace

Zone 1

threshold*2,5

threshold*(1/0,86)

Zone 2

threshold*(1/0,92)

threshold*(1/0,87)

Zone 3

threshold value

threshold*(1/0,93)

Zone 4

threshold*(1/1,08)

threshold*(1/1,01)

Zone 5

threshold*(1/2)

threshold*(1/1,09)

HR-ZONES % based on HF MAX

Zone 1

1 %

72 %

Zone 2

73 %

82 %

Zone 3

83 %

87 %

Zone 4

88 %

92 %

Zone 5

93 %

100 %

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