Get in that Zone!

I am currently training (again) for the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon and I’m trying a different training method.

I’ve seen many people talking about “Zone Training” and I am following that training program on my Garmin website.

When I was training for the marathon, I read this type of training but it seemed complicated so I went with Higdon’s 1st Time Marathon training. Every run was measured in miles only using that method.

I am reading more and studying the effects of heart rate, zones and training for prolonged periods in those zones.

First, I will say that it makes treadmill running much better. I can control speed, incline etc to stay in the training zones.

Another thing I have learned is that my resting heart rate is in the athlete zone! Athlete???? Me????  That is a considerable difference from when I was obese and not at all active.


My resting heart rate is between 47-52.  🙂

My maximum HR should be 180.

Males:   210 minus 1/2 your age minus 5% of your body weight + 4
Females:  210 minus – 1/2 your age minus 1% of your body weight  + 0  

My zones are the following.

Zone 1 = 90-108

Zone 2 = 108-126

Zone 3 = 126-144

Zone 4 = 144 – 162

Zone 5 = 162 – 180

You figure your zones by doing the percentages of your maximum (which is 180 for me)

Z1 (50% – 60% )

Z2 (60% – 70%)

Z3 (70% – 80%)

Z4 (80% – 90%)

Z5 (90% – 100%)

Zone 1: (Healthy Heart Zone) This is the safest, most comfortable zone, reached by walking briskly. Here you strengthen your heart and improve muscle mass while you reduce body fat, cholesterol, blood pressure, and your risk for degenerative disease. You get healthier in this zone, but not more fit — that is, it won’t increase your endurance or strength but it will increase your health.

If you’re out of shape, have heart problems, or simply want to safeguard your heart without working too hard, spend most of your training time here. It’s also the zone for warming up and cooling down before and after more vigorous zones.

Zone 2: (Temperate Zone) It’s easily reached by jogging slowly. While still a relatively low-level of effort, this zone starts training your body to increase the rate of fat release from the cells to the muscles for fuel.

Some people call this the “fat burning zone” because up to 85 % of the total calories burned in this zone are fat calories which is equally as important.

Fit and unfit people burn fat differently. The more fit you are, the more effectively you use fat to maintain a healthy weight. On the other hand, perhaps you’ve been exercising vigorously, but not losing the weight you expected to. Could be you’ve been working too hard and need to drop back to this zone and exercise longer. To burn more total calories you’ll need to exercise for more time in this zone.

Zone 3:  (Aerobic Zone) In this zone — reached by running easily as an example — you improve your functional capacity. The number and size of your blood vessels actually increase, you step up your lung capacity and respiratory rate, and your heart increases in size and strength so you can exercise longer before becoming fatigued. You’re still metabolizing fats and carbohydrates at about a 50-50 rate which means both are burning at the same ratio.

Zone 4: (Anaerobic Threshold Zone) This zone is reached by going hard — running faster. Here you get faster and fitter, increasing your heart rate as you cross from aerobic to anaerobic training. At this point, your heart cannot pump enough blood and oxygen to supply the exercising muscles fully so they respond by continuing to contract anaerobically.

This is where you “feel the burn.” You can stay in this zone for a limited amount of time, usually not more than an hour. That’s because the muscle just cannot sustain working anaerobically (this means without sufficient oxygen) without fatiguing. The working muscles protect themselves from overwork by not being able to maintain the intensity level.

Zone 5:  (Redline Zone) This is the equivalent of running all out and is used mostly as an “interval” training regiment — exertion done only in short to intermediate length bursts. Even world-class athletes can stay n this zone for only a few minutes at a time. It’s not a zone most people will select for exercise since working out here hurts and there is an increased potential for injury.


My new training schedule will call for (for example) to run Week 4, Day 3  at 80 minutes in Zone 3. My program is set up with 5 runs a week. One run may be 30 minutes in Zone 4 or alternating Zone 4 and Zone 3 intervals.

Of course, you must have a heart monitor. I have one on my Garmin Forerunner 220 and I have a Polar one without GPS.

But what I have found is that road running (which is what I love) it is hard to control whereas on a treadmill, I can slow down the speed, lower the incline etc to stay in my zone.

But all in all, it’s a great way to train when time outside is limited. It might even be a good method to train in the summer.

Mentally, it feels better to me to say that I am running 80 minutes versus 8 miles for example.

I’m also getting familiar with runner terminology: long runs (already knew this one), Threshold runs, Kenyan Hills (ass killers!), Fartlek…I still giggle when I say this word out loud, intervals, steady runs, marathon pace practice, recovery run…etc.

A whole new exciting running world out there for me to explore! I’m 55 now so I get get on with it. 🙂

Yesterday, it was a bit warmer 25 degrees and I ran 85 minutes (8 miles) on the MKT trail. It was exhilarating and the scenery was beautiful with all the frozen lakes and bluffs, deer, birds and there were many runners out in their colorful running gear. I wore mine, of course.

My eating is better and I am showing more self control on the snacks. I’ve even taken off that 4 lbs that I put on from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

I’m feeling better and more energetic.

I have also put myself on a running shoe diet. Since July, I have bought 7 pair of new running shoes. I cannot believe that I have done that. I even bought one pair twice just in case! haha

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Here’s my current collection and all bought since July 2014. You see those cute ruby-red slippers (saucony ride 7)?? I bought those twice!

Charlotte's Shoe Porn
Charlotte’s Shoe Porn

better-in-running-shoes

~Run People~

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7 thoughts on “Get in that Zone!

  1. Way to go Charlotte!! 4 pounds off!! That’s amazing! You ARE amazing! Great job on your 8 miles!! Awesome aaand so happy you’re feeling more energetic!! Such good news!! Oh yeah baby! Have a fabulous week!! You rock! XOXO

  2. This is such great information, thank you for posting! I run so slow that a lot of plans that go by mileage aren’t that appropriate for me. (For instance, I do 200’s instead of 400’s). Using time makes much more sense for me. I kind of have my own plan going now because of it, but I’d like to use heart rate instead of winging it. As it is, I go by my sense of effort. Congrats on the resting heart rate and weight lost!

    1. I recommend zone running! It really does make treadmill running a little better. Not much. 🙂 I’m learning a lot about how your body reacts to exercising in the zone. I’ve started losing weight again so that makes me feel like it is working. It may not make any difference in my finish times in running but for now, it’s working for me. Take care and stay warm!

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