Why isn't there a Performance Zoneâ„¢?

We've got zones for everything else; fat burning zone*, aerobic zone, anaerobic zone, recovery zone, strength zone,interval zone, race day zone and my personal favorite, the puke zone.

Zone Systems numbered every which way; 3 Zones, 4 zones, 5 zones, 7 zones and we can't forget O³ (the ozone).

Zones based on; Max Heart Rate, resting heart rate, VT1 (aerobic threshold), VT2 (anaerobic threshold), metabolic tests, complicated math, the guy riding next to you's heart rate and others.

All in all an utterly confusing mess. So where's the harm in adding another zone... the Performance Zoneâ„¢?

Of course there are the naysayers who will respond; I don't recall hearing Joe Friel speak of this, or this isn't in any of Chris Carmichael's books... so it must not exist 🙁

The Performance Zone... is where you perform.

I do appreciate zones described by their feeling or specific training purpose. I've actually come up with a few myself, with the expressed medical purpose of helping me to communicate a range of heart rates and how they feel, to my classes. I love simplicity. So even though a five zone system is the standard at Lifetime Fitness, my preference is to always discuss heart rates based on the 2 Thresholds / 3 Zones system. Actually it's it's not conflict. VT1 ( aerobic/low threshold) tends to be the base of zone three. VT2 (anaerobic threshold) is the top is the top of Zone 3 / bottom of Zone 4.

The Chatty Zoneâ„¢

Below VT1, that first threshold, is what I describe as the Chatty Zoneâ„¢. You'll recognize it as the place where your class starts talking after recovering from a more strenuous effort. We know it's below VT1 because, by definition, it is the place where you have comfort speaking. For many of us aerobic activities tend to stimulate our creativity. Once our breathing has reduced to the point where we feel comfortable speaking, many of us can't help but express ourselves to our neighbors.

JRA - Just Riding Along

JRA is something I've borrowed from the mountain bike crowd. Many descriptions of particularly entertaining crashes begin with; "I have no idea what happened. I was JRA and the next thing I knew, I was flying through the air." JRA is the Zone where you literally zone out. Your body is on autopilot as you ride down the road. Heart Rate is hovering right at the VT1 and it's hypnotic.

The  Performance Zoneâ„¢ 

I like to describe this zone as focused effort. Midway between JRA and Threshold... the place where we perform and what we are trying to improve by training above and below it.

What has me off on this tangent is the MS 150 ride Amy and I are participating in this weekend. We'll be spending about eight hours in total in our Performance Zone, sitting up front, pulling our team over the 150 miles riding the "Bus". I've written some past posts where I describe where Amy and I become a sort of machine; guided by my blink heart rate monitor, together we find that maximum, sustainable effort, where we can ride for hours. Post ride update: Make that close to 10 hours. The second day was spend piercing a hole in the 20mph headwind we faced all day, barely managing a 15mph average.

Does this sound like something you could introduce in one of your classes?


â„¢ Notice: When ever I add the â„¢ to any word or phrase I feel is clever or unique, it's only to identify that as far as I can tell, I was the originator of the concept. Indoor Cycling 2.0â„¢ is a good example. Anyone is free to use it. All I ask is that you credit where you got it from.

*Which by many accounts doesn't exist - It's on the list only as an example. 

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Originally posted 2012-06-09 05:18:10.


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