Saturday, 11 April 2015

Heart Rate Training Zones again - working through a practical example

This time I thought I would illustrate the differeence between differest "systems" for calculating heart rate training zones using a practical example.
I did a run a bit more than a week ago wearing my new HRM.
It was about 5.8km (about 3.6 miles) in length, and took me about 40 minutes.

Here is the trace for speed and heart rate from Strava:
blue is "pace", red is "heart rate".
So, how does that equate to training zones?
Remember the graphic I showed you last time?
Here it is again:
Comparing "Training Zones" for Strava, the "Cyclosportive" book, and Polar
As mentioned before, I am aged 50, and have a resting heart rate (RHR) of about 48bpm (yes, I know it is a bit on the low side), and a maximum heart rate (HRmax) of 181bpm (yes, I know it is a bit on the high side for a chap of 50!), so I have a "heart rate reserve" (HRR) of 133 bpm.

So, how does that work out for "training zones"?
Well, using the Strava system, employing their published data for Laurens ten Dam, the TdF rider, as a "benchmark", we get the Strava zones as:
Strava Zone 1 - zero to 58.7% ("rest" to 106 bpm for me!)
Strava Zone 2 - 58.7% to 77.6% (106 - 140 bpm for me)
Strava Zone 3 - 77.6% to 86.7% (140 - 157 bpm for me)
Strava Zone 4 - 86.7% to 96.4% (157 - 174 bpm for me)
Strava Zone 5 - 96.4% + (174+bpm for me)

As before, the Cyclosportive system gives:
Cyclosportive Zone 1 resting pulse to 65% max heart rate ("rest" to 118 bpm for me!)
Cyclosportive Zone 2 66-80% (118 - 145 bpm)
Cyclosportive Zone 3 81-90% (145 - 163 bpm)
Cyclosportive Zone 4 91%+ (163+ bpm)

And for POLAR, we get, for their HRmax-based system (different POLAR products seem to use either an HRmax or an HRR method!)
Polar Zone 1 - up to 60% ("rest" to 109 bpm)
Polar Zone 2 - 60-70% (109 - 127 bpm)
Polar Zone 3 - 70-80% (127 - 145 bpm)
Polar Zone 4 - 80-90% (145 - 163 bpm)
Polar Zone 5 - 90-100% (163+ bpm)

So using the run I mentioned earlier, how does my actual, measured, HR fit into the zones?
You "Strava" Premium users could always set your "custom" heart rates to match the various values of the different zones in the different training programs.
For the rest of us, there is another way - using the excellent StravaPlus "extension" in the "Chrome" browser to set "custom zones", and then compare the results.

So here we go ...
Strava zones for the run:
The Strava system: A good run - lots of zone 3 work
Cyclosportive zones FOR THE SAME RUN< WITH THE SAME HRM DATA (!)
"Cyclosportive" zone system - "harder" zones than Strava
And the Polar (HRmax) method:
Polar (HRmax) system has "easier" zones than either Cyclosportive or Strava
So there we go.
Polar gives me the biggest bragging rights, Strava is somewhere in the middle, and "Cyclosportive" is the hardest. Of course, one should remember that all the graphs use the same HRM file, so they are ALL exactly the same, and represent EXACTLY the same amount of effort.

And, just to finish off, a "new" zone system - the default for the "StravaPlus" extension:
I must be getting fitter - this time (by using a different "zone" system!) I have a chunk of Zone 6 running!
Again, the HRM file is EXACTLY the same as the other charts :-)
So they all show EXACTLY the same amount of "training"!

"You pays your money and you takes your choice!" (Punch, 1846, later employed by Mark Twain in 1884)

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