Coach Sage Canaday Weighs In On What Zone 2 REALLY Means.

A lot of talk about “Zone 2 Training”…(out of 5 Zones not 3!). First of all people seem to think it means different things and are defining it differently now! So I will start with a ball park of: “65% to 75% of true max Heart rate”….however: 

✅ Now if that zone is just heart-rate based (subject to heart rate monitor errors and also compounded by the fact that many don’t know their actual 100% max HR as well), then all of a sudden we can easily be going “too slow” or “too fast” in training.

So how do we know the proper intensity and what actually “zone 2”
or “Easy Aerobic ‘Base Building’” effort really is?
Well, we could also read mmol (lactate level), but that is relative and not very practical for most.

✅ However, if we are a dialed road marathon runner (training on flat roads) with a PR pace of 7:00/mile or 4:21/km (3:03 finishing time), then we also could just say: “Most Easy Days for ‘Zone 2’ will be significantly slower than that”….like 8:15 to 8:45 per mile (5:00-5:30/km) pace.

✅ Notice the Pace range! It’s dependent on the day, your weekly mileage, and fatigue level. It’s okay to go into Zone 1-Zone 3 as well in a single run, too.

✅ Finally (the ultimate) is by “feeling Zone 2…. or so” by our breathing rate and perceived effort as well. So: Can you easily carry on a conversation? If not you’re probably going “too hard” for true Zone 2!
As we cross over up into higher intensity (aka “Zone 3”) we are usually crossing a Threshold (aerobic/ventilatory).
That could be reflected on RER (respiratory exchange ratio) values as well, but that’s a whole another discussion about the science behind running and endurance training!
Still Confused by All This “Zone” Talk?
Don’t sweat it!

Our Higher Running Training Zones Chart (Pace-Intensity Spectrum Chart) is a FREE download that comes with all our Training Plans (or you can get yourself a free, PDF download file copy below to see what we’re all about first!).
It shows relative workout intensities and terms along with percent of your max Heart-rate or perceived effort as well as some workout examples for each “type” of zone.