TRAINING ZONES EXPLAINED
PROGRESSIVE IN NATURE
SIMPLE BY DESIGN
ONLINE TRAINING SYSTEMS FOR MOUNTAIN-BASED ATHLETES
For years, scientists debated which training method and metric would most closely predict running success. For the most part, lactate threshold heart rate, and a runner’s pace at lactate threshold came out on top. Where lactate threshold pace becomes a challenge is when a runner leaves the road and heads to the trail. Because trail surfaces vary significantly pace is a difficult metric to control, which is why we’ll be utilizing lactate threshold heart rate to “pace” trail runs, rather than literal running pace. At times, especially when it comes to measuring lactate threshold heart rate and pace, we will encourage the use of a flat road or track, but for the reasons listed above we will generally use heart rate to determine effort during runs.
CALCULATING LACTATE THRESHOLD HEART RATE
Determine your lactate threshold heart rate (LTHR) with a short test. Ideally, complete this test before and Union Athletics conditioning plan.
To find your LTHR complete a maximum effort 30-minute solo run. Complete this effort at your “race pace”, you should be exhausted at the end of the run. Track your average heart rate for the final 20 minutes of this run. That number is an approximation of your LTHR.
The reason we do not track heart rate during the first 10 minutes is to settle into a hard, but consistent pace, and to give the heart enough time to adapt to the effort. We encourage frequent LTHR testing as it may change slightly over time, while your lactate threshold pace can improve significantly and is a great indicator of improved fitness.
|Zone||Name||Heart Rate||Perceived Exertion||Description|
|1||Recovery||Less than 85% of LTHR||>2||Very easy effort. Active recovery.|
|2||Aerobic||85% to 89% of LTHR||2-3||Classic long slow distance (LSD) training. Nasal breathing possible, along with speaking in complete sentences.|
|3||Tempo||90% to 94% of LTHR||4-5||Typical intensity of unstructured solo ride, “spirited” group ride, or paceline. More sensation of effort and fatigue. Nasal breathing challenging, but complete sentences possible.|
|4||Sub Threshold||95% to 99% of LTHR||6-7||Moderate or even greater leg effort/fatigue. Complete sentences challenging. Consecutive days are possible, but require adequate recovery before and after.|
|5a||Super Threshold||100% to 102% of LTHR||8||High effort and fatigue. Efforts are often broken into “repeats” rather than as a single block to reduce mental fatigue.|
|5b||Aerobic Capacity||103% to 106% of LTHR||9||Typical intensity of longer (3-8 min) intervals intended to increase VO2max. High effort and fatigue. Training sessions tend to be shorter. Inability to speak in complete sentences.|
|5c||Anaerobic Capacity||More than 106% of LTHR||10||Short, high intensity intervals ranging from 30-seconds to three minutes. Heart rate generally not useful due frequent effort changes. Near maximal effort, and conversation impossible.|
I’ve been training with Joel for a number of years now and I love his approach to training in the way that he aims to make you not just a better rider but an all around human/athlete as well. He covers all bases and keeps it fun in the process. If you’re just starting racing or chasing down podiums, I’d highly recommend Union Athletics.
- Lucas Cruz, Professional Mountain Bike Athlete
When I started training towards my full potential, I tried to take training into my own hands through various internet sources, it was disconnected information drawing me further away from what I really wanted . I went in searching for something that could take me to the next level because I knew I had the ambition but didn’t have the knowledge. Training with Union Athletics has brought me to where I feel like I need to be, always progressing my fitness, my skills and my determination. It has a fun, but challenging functional training plan.
- Colby Pringle, Professional Mountain Bike Athlete
I haven't been working with Union Athletics for long, but from what I have experienced, the workouts, both on and off the bike, are comprehensive, complete, and seem to be working great. In only a few months, I've seen some major improvement in my fitness, strength and overall mobility. Joel and Jay are friendly guys who make you feel comfortable, and with whom you feel as a team working towards the same goals. I strongly recommend it!
- Charles Couture, Professional Mountain Bike Athlete
Since I started working with Joel a little over a year ago, I’ve significantly improved my strength and durability as a mountain biker, trail runner and skier. Joel adapts my program according to my athletic goals and life commitments, helping me to maintain a high level of motivation. As a multi-sport athlete, I especially appreciate his extensive knowledge of the functional movements required for various sports. I firmly believe that Joel’s program is not only making me stronger today, but will also give me the durability to continue enjoying mountain activities well into the future.
- Jayne Rossworn, Endurance Athlete
After stepping away from ski racing in 2018 and committing 100% to mountain bike racing I needed someone with a complete training program. Joel helped me make massive gains in my fitness and skills on the bike. We have worked hard on improving my cornering technique and overall body position. This has not only improved my top speed but also my consistency during race runs which is something I have struggled with over the last two seasons. This year I have been able to race with more confidence and control which has made for some big improvements on the results sheet. Joel’s unique approach to not only working on the fitness side but actually improving my skills on the trail has been a major part in my progress over the last three years. I am really excited to see what the future holds with Blueprint Athlete Development.
- Kasper Woolley, Professional Mountain Bike Athlete
Joel has been my coach for MTB for several years now. He prioritizes our weak points to ensure we grow as a WHOLE athlete not just to our specific sport. Many of the strength-based programs are multi-use for all levels of competition and sport which allows us to build a strong foundation that can be built upon. The variety in his program also keeps the training fun and exciting, as you have to learn skills and make your body adaptable to all these new challenges. So whether you are just trying to get some strength gains or win a world cup, Joel is sure to keep you on your toes
- Julia Long, Professional Mountain Bike Athlete