As we head into the season, I'm once again inundated with questions of zones, heart rates and perceived effort. The very success of the Trisutto training is that athletes learn to read their own body. You must work on developing your own instincts rather than turn it over to the very inexact indicators of sports science. The perceived effort is the key to controlling ones success.
When one asks how many zones? - that too is very arbitrary. Do we count warm up and warm down as a zone? Is doing sprints of up to 8 seconds a zone? Does it really matter?
Not really. However what does is knowing the clarifications.
Many athletes when doing the moderate, medium, mad workouts tend to do the first two parts too easy. So a one hour workout of 20 minutes moderate, 20 minutes medium, 20 minutes mad becomes only a 20 minute workout, as the first 40 minutes is way too slow.
So to help educate as to what each zone should be, I will put some heart rate numbers and some comments in the chart.
Moderate is 35 beats per minute below maximum heart rate.
Medium is 25 beats per minute below maximum heart rate.
Mad is 15 beats below maximum heart rate.
To this list we also add warm up and warm down as one zone. We also add an easy zone. With these additional two zones spelled out, we should then better understand that moderate is neither warm up pace, or what I consider easy. We should also not misunderstand the medium zone. This should be comfortably uncomfortable. I see many going far to easy in this zone. The mad zone should be self explanatory, as we have been working for at least 40 minutes; so mad should be hitting best aerobic pace for the duration of the time of effort. We will then list speed work. In some sports this is labelled as H.V.O. - High Velocity Overload. Thus are done at near 100% best efforts. If they are done between 8 and 20 seconds I don't consider this to be a zone at all, more a sharpening of the knife. To further our understanding of moderate medium and mad, we will actually use moderate, medium and ??? When you get to ??? you have a decision to make. The moderate and medium sections of your workout are already quite demanding, so if at this point you feel ok, not great, but not terrible, then you stick at medium for the last ??? section. If when getting to the ??? of the workout, if feeling terrible then drop back to moderate effort. Both of these decisions are our insurance policy to guard against over training.
If of course you are really in the groove and feeling very swift, we take the ??? and make it mad! This being as fast a pace you can hold for the duration of the rest of the workout.
Conclusion Understanding the levels of perceived effort comes like all things - with practice. If the above description allows you to better understand the training loads, then this is a positive. But remember a main set of moderate, medium, and mad is not supposed to be easy. It is a controlled effort at every minute. Running 20 minutes warm up, and 20 minutes easy, and then going all out for 20 minutes is not a 1 hour workout. It is a 20 minute workout held over a 1 hour duration.