.... and I don't mean the Bingo Hall.
I am seeing many posts from Facebook friends at the moment who are starting out on their 2013 Ironman journeys. Many of them are struggling with the pace of their longer training runs and wondering if it is right that they are to complete these at such a low pace/heart rate.
One of the biggest problems that we see with many Triathletes is that they are lingering around the 'Gray Zone', otherwise known as Zone 3, way too much.
I was reading a good article recently about the magic of training in Zone 2 (of the mostly commonly used five-zone heart rate training system). Zone 2 is the extensive endurance aerobic training zone and sits below the Zone 3 'Gray Zone'. Zone 3 training is too low to improve speed, or work on your anaerobic system and too high to have any effective impact on training your aerobic system.
Obviously the key to using a heart rate monitor is determining your training zones. Doing this by using the formula 220 minus your age is about as good as making it up. Completing a realistic Maximum Heart Rate Test is unachievable for most people so the best way of working out your zones is by finding your lactate threshold heart rate. Carry out initial & regular threshold tests to zone in on this number and you can then work out your other zones from there.
Most athletes complete their hard sessions too easy, and their easy sessions too hard, resulting in all their sessions overlapping into Zone 3.
Stay in the right training zones. Stay out of the Gray Zone and string a few good weeks together & you will see the improvements.