I'm training for Olympic distance and 70.3 triathlons as well as a fall marathon. I recently chose to invest in a Garmin 920XT instead of a power meter because I felt it will be beneficial to all three disciplines instead of just the bike. If I'm running three times a week and riding three times a week this summer, what percentage of my rides should be spent in which zones?
That's a seemingly simple question that's actually pretty complex.
It can get pretty complicated talking about periodization, race goals, the type of training plan you're on, and whatever other terms coaches and trainers use to describe the work you do. What's great, however, is that the Olympic, half-Ironman and full marathon are all very high-aerobic based. With that, its important not only to have a great deal of your training geared toward the aerobic component but also threshold with some easy and higher heart-rate training (over threshold).
With training at threshold you're conditioning your body to push the level at which your body switches gears from aerobic into the anaerobic. Working on that helps push those boundaries further. You will switch over at some point, slowly but surely, and we want to make that’s a more efficient transition.
Building an aerobic base will really drive your engine. At those distances you're going to require a tremendous amount of aerobic capacity to get you through. Lots of huffin' and puffin' my friends...lots!
Think of it as the threshold making your bank of energy bigger and the aerobic work filling that bank. CAAAACHING!
The last two important zones are the easy and higher heart-rate zones. Easy is good to just ride around and appreciate the love of riding while not worrying about being at a certain level. A "stop and smell the roses" ride. Higher heart-rate is good because well just doing those are efforts working on speed and pushing it are great both physically and mentally.
Keep up the amazing endeavour!
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