How to Use Heart Rate Zones to Boost Your Triathlon Training

A complex sport like triathlon demands that you build swim, bike, and run training into your schedule right along with strength training and stretching.

Question is, how do you get the most out of the time you have available? Throw away everything except the most pivotal aspects of training—like using heart rate zones, a tool that makes the most of your workouts.

MoreShould You Train With a Heart Rate Monitor?

Getting Started

If you don't use pace or heart rate (HR) zones to guide your training, you're limiting your fitness gains and reducing your performance results.

Try this simple, no-cost field test to develop pace/HR zones specific to you. It's not as accurate as going to a sport's facility that conducts lactate threshold testing, which is worth paying for if you're going to be competitive in your age group. If your goal is to get more fit and have more fun training and racing then this do-it-yourself test is adequate.

MoreHow to Find Your Target Heart Rate for Base Building

Get Fit First

If you've been training for at least 4 to 6 weeks at a conversational pace to develop your aerobic system you can skip this section. If not, you should consider using the Maffetone Method to develop your aerobic system.

It's used by a number of triathlon coaching companies and it's one I've used successfully for years because it's a safe process and simple to implement. If you're 16 years old or younger this method won't work for you.

  • Subtract your age from 180
  • Add 5 beats per minute (bpm) if you've been training at least four times a week for the last two years without any nagging sports related injuries.
  • Subtract five beats if recovering from a minor injury or you're prone to colds or flus. 
  • Add 10 bpm if you're over 65 years old
  • Subtract 10 beats if you're recovering from a major injury or operation.

More: 5 New Cardio Workouts

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About the Author

Jay Zacharias

Jay Zacharias is a USAT-certified coach and licensed primary sports nutritionist. He's been involved with triathlon since 1981 and is co-founder of TriathlonExperts.com, the leading community for self-coached triathletes. Grab your free short and long-course training plans by visiting www.triathlonexperts.com.

Jay Zacharias is a USAT-certified coach and licensed primary sports nutritionist. He's been involved with triathlon since 1981 and is co-founder of TriathlonExperts.com, the leading community for self-coached triathletes. Grab your free short and long-course training plans by visiting www.triathlonexperts.com.

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