• Paul W

Zone 4 is Where You Want to Be

I am now six weeks away from a Virtual Ironman Triathlon I am attempting in place of the cancelled race in Mont Tremblant. This means I am entering a crucial training phase as part of my preparation, and the expectations on me to complete the required distance on the day has increased as I have passed my fundraising goal over the last week, meaning there are now many people looking at how I do.

With six weeks to go, I am just four weeks away from the infamous ‘Peak Week’, during which I push myself close to my physical limits, then taper down towards race day, and despite having a ‘Half Ironman’ (or 70.3) Virtual Race in two weeks as part of my build up, I have to hit some very hard efforts over the next few weeks.

On Saturday I did a five-hour duathlon set (run-bike-run) and my aim was to try to stay in what is known as Zone 4 when it comes to my heart rate.

I have a dedicated triathlon smart watch that records my effort and heart rate and calculates the relative Zones over a period of time. The Zones range from 1-5, with 5 being the most extreme (you don’t want to spend too much time there as your body will start to break down), but when pushing the physical boundaries,

Zone 4 is a good place to be. However, while it is relatively easy to get into and stay in Zone 4 when running (you just run faster – and try and stay there) it can be harder on a bike as there will be some stretches on the road that are downhill, and there is only so much energy you can generate when peddling downhill.

I managed a good training session where I spent some good periods in Zone 4 on the run, but not enough on the bike. This made me realize that while we may strive hard to get into our Energy Zones (Professional, Personal and Social) when leading our regular lifestyle, there will be times when it is just not going to happen, and we have to settle for the best we can, which may mean giving up on a task and instead being productive in a different area.

This is sometimes known as ‘Productive Procrastination’ – you may not have got that task complete that you really wanted to, but at least you got lots of other things done, so don’t feel so bad about it. I wasn’t delighted with my bike zones on Saturday, but my run zones looked really good, so I was pretty happy in the end.