Last post, we covered tempo or pace training and periodization. This post will focus on threshold training and focusing on your target heart rate.
Threshold training involves working at a vigorous intensity (yellow or red) for a duration of 10 minutes or longer. When performing threshold training, you are striving to work at your highest tolerated level of intensity for an extended period of time.
Threshold training is not necessarily the same as working at your anaerobic threshold (sometimes called lactate threshold, LT), because you will not be able to hold that level of intensity for an extended duration. Anaerobic threshold (AT) is a level of exercise intensity that utilizes primarily anaerobic metabolism to supply energy. At this level of intensity, metabolic byproducts begin to build up in your muscles faster than they can be cleared and fatigue sets in.
As you become fitter, you can maintain higher levels of intensity using primarily aerobic metabolism before the anaerobic system needs to take over. Thus, you can work at higher intensities for longer durations before AT/LT sets in. AT/LT generally begins around 55% of maximal oxygen uptake (~70% of maximum heart rate, green zone) in untrained individuals and up to 80 or 90% of maximal oxygen uptake (~90-95% of maximum heart rate, red zone) in highly trained folks.
You will want to work at a level just below your AT/LT during threshold training – intensities in the yellow and red should be appropriate if you have established a solid aerobic base. Knowing your target heart rate as you become fitter is key.
Threshold training is very challenging. Warm up thoroughly prior to a threshold workout. Use a dynamic warm up or warm up at a lower intensity in the modality of fitness you will train in.
Here are a few threshold workouts. You can complete these workouts using a modality of your choice (running, cycling, rowing, circuit training, elliptical). Give yourself a day or two of recovery in between threshold workouts. Complete rest or active recovery at low-to-moderate intensities is recommended.
- Work in Yellow or Red: 10-30 minutes continuous
- Work in Yellow or Red: 10 minutes; Recover in Green: 2 minutes -Repeat
- Multi-Modality (Brick) Workouts:
- Treadmill -5 minutes (Yellow or Red); Cycle -5 minutes (Yellow or Red) x 3
- Cycle -5 minutes (Yellow or Red); Treadmill -5 minutes (Yellow or Red); Row -5 minutes (Yellow or Red) x 2
We would like to see how you challenge yourself using the MYZONE system and threshold training! When you complete a move, post it to Facebook or Twitter and use the hashtags: #myzonemoves #threshold. Next post, interval training is the topic. Keep moving forward!