By Leandro Lutz
In part 1 of my article I talked about heart rate monitors, their importance for long distance skiers and outlined the 5 training zones that are normally used. In this new article, I bring some details about each training zone.
Zone 5 - Maximum
It is the maximum training zone, ranging from 90-100% of your maximum heart rate, represents an intensity of effort that we can not keep for long (e.g. intervals of around 30-45 seconds). This corresponds to a maximum sprint and the feeling is of a very difficult exercise.
Zone 4 - Hard
Corresponds to 80-90% of maximum heart rate, it is a zone that is difficult but not so much. A well-conditioned athlete can maintain this intensity for 40 to 60 minutes. The sensation of exercise is of burning muscles and rather breathless breathing.
Zones 4 and 5 are anaerobic. The objective is lactate compensation and to train the anaerobic capacity, that is, to train the resistance and the combination of strength and resistance. Mainly interval training goes into this category, where it would be described as difficult or very difficult.
Zone 3 - Moderate
It corresponds to 70-80% of your maximum heart rate and is one of the most important training zones of all. This zone increases the conditioning of your heart and muscles for longer exertions.
It's a relatively comfortable zone that you can sustain for quite a while. Although it is within the aerobic range, it represents a more challenging aerobic rhythm. The training within this zone is also used to stabilize the performance level as well as to train glycogen metabolism. This zone prepares the body for sessions of greater intensity.
Zone 2 - Light
It ranges from 60-70% of your maximum heart rate. Corresponds to a light workout for skiers or a light running or roller-skiing during dryland season. This is a much used intensity for warm ups and regenerative workouts.
Zone 2 is the main aerobic base construction zone. This "light" zone is for long-distance skiing and any other endurance sport where you are skiing/running/biking at a pace that allows you to talk to your training partner.
It is used to stabilize the level of performance, hone technique, as well as training fat metabolism and to improve basic levels of endurance, being extremely important for all sports.
Zone 1 - Very Light
Finally we have Zone 1, which ranges from 50-60% of your maximum heart rate, and it is used to train the body's ability to recover faster, as well as partly to train fat metabolism and is defined as a very light zone.
After detailing the information, it is possible to say that zones 1, 2 and 3 are mainly related to aerobic metabolic processes below the lactate threshold, while Zones 4 and 5 correspond mainly to anaerobic processes at or above the lactate threshold.
Intensity zones are used in long distance skiing because training at different intensities works your body in different ways, leading to different physiological adaptations and resulting in different benefits.
Another important point is to train in the correct zones, respecting your training plan and without exceeding your limits. It is worth mentioning that the work in the training zones does not dispense a good planning from your coach, since it is the good use of the loads and the choice of training workouts that define the effectiveness of the work.
An important detail is that training zone information is often based on population tables and may not fully adjust to its physiological characteristics. If you notice that the intensities are different from your trainings sensations, you should try to perform specific tests so that these data are offered in a personalized way.
Finally, remember to always be aware of your effort for each training pace. Good training and stay tuned for the next article.