Training mit Herzfrequenzzonen

Effective training with heart rate zones

Training by heart rate is a proven method to target various areas of endurance performance. Heart rate zones are determined based on individual maximum heart rate (HFmax) to structure training effectively. This article delves into the scientific aspects of heart rate zones and their significance in running training as promised in Part 1.

Heart Rate Zones in Detail

Heart rate zones are categorized according to maximum heart rate (HFmax), which can vary individually. For orientation, we use an HFmax of 190 beats per minute.

Zone 1: Slow endurance run (70 – 75% HFmax)

This zone involves training at a very low pace, approximately 70-75% of HFmax. The goal is to strengthen the cardiovascular system and promote fat burning.

Zone 2: Easy endurance run (75 – 80% HFmax)

Running at a slightly faster pace, around 75-80% of HFmax. Together with Zone 1, this zone enhances aerobic endurance and facilitates efficient carbohydrate and fat burning. These lower zones should constitute about 80% of your training.

Zone 3: Endurance run (80 – 85% HFmax)

Tempo in Zone 3 is faster than Zone 2 but still comfortable. This zone enhances endurance but shouldn't dominate training due to the relatively high strain. Excessive high-intensity training is a common cause of sports injuries, especially for beginners.

Zone 4: Threshold run (85 – 90% HFmax)

This zone enters the anaerobic phase, where the body relies more on carbohydrate burning. Athletes utilize this zone for interval training to improve speed.

Zone 5: Sprint (90 – 95% HFmax)

Caution is required in this zone and should only be trained with intervals. Overexertion is easy, particularly for beginners, and can be harmful. However, training in Zones 4 & 5 is necessary for speed improvement and VO2max enhancement. But, this intense training should only be incorporated once basic endurance (Z1 & Z2) is established.

Further Aspects of Heart Rate Training

  • Individual variations: Heart rate zones may vary depending on the sport and individual differences.
  • Gender differences: Women generally have a slightly higher maximum heart rate than men.
  • Terrain profile: Pace may vary due to inclines or headwinds, making heart rate monitoring crucial.
  • Measurement accuracy: Choosing a precise heart rate monitor or chest strap is crucial, as some models may be inaccurate, especially in extreme temperatures.
  • Impact of environmental conditions: Heart rate is influenced by body temperature and may increase in heat as well as dehydration does.

Conclusion: Patience and structure are key

Training by heart rate requires patience and a structured approach, but the results are worth it. By targeting different heart rate zones, you can significantly improve endurance performance. A gradual progression, starting with slow sessions and progressing to intervals, allows for effective performance enhancement. It's important to gauge your limits individually and avoid overexertion. If in doubt, seek guidance from a trainer or join a running group where personal assistance is available.


>> How to determine your maximum heart rate

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