LTHR and HR zones mismatch

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    Jan M. Kürzinger

    Good morning,

    my name is Jan and right now I’m approaching the first of two consecutive Half-IM-plans. I am still quite new to 80/20 and have some trouble with my HR zones.

    Every year I do a lab-based HR test and set my zones for the start of the training season. Last years numbers and a introduction to 80/20 boosted my results like I hadnt expected it, therefore I want to do it full on right this year.
    So far: Did the lab test again, worked through the winter with a maintenance plan based on HR, made good improvements without killing myself. The came the official gruesome LTHR-testing, and now I am in confusion.

    After years of cycling tests, I am sure I got the test right. But from the results the zone calculator gives me, all my new zones are so way up I have a hard time staying on top of it.
    Where my former zone 1 ended at 106, my new zone 1 tops at 130. This is about the middle my old zone 3. Towards the higher zones is only a difference of about 3 digits, almost impossible to hit exactly, Zone 4 is reachable but only with a bucket in sight, just in case.

    In terms of RPE I would always range quite high, even in warm-ups. Considering the fact that this training approach puts an emphasis on not constantly wasting yourself during sessions, I find it hard to follow the new numbers. Am I doing something wrong? Did I get too soft with my former HR-zones? Should I find another way to spend my time? 🙂

    For my tech specs: I am 46 years, 80 kg, have a good history of training through the decades, therefore I would consider myself quite good in shape.

    Thanks a lot for your advice!

    David Warden

    Jan, sorry for the late reply.

    To establish a baseline, your top of Zone 1 is 130, therefore your LTHR is exactly 160 in the 80/20 system.

    I suspect the lab test is the issue. I know that’s hard to hear, but let’s look at it logically.

    Lactate threshold is an intensity you can maintain for about 1 hour in a lab (observed), or 30 minutes by yourself (unobserved).

    So, your lab results show you can hold 160bpm for 60 minutes, or at least for 30 minutes.

    You can hold 160bpm for 30 minutes, but you can’t hold 163bpm (Zone 4) for 2.5 minutes? It indicates to me that the LTHR is incorrect.

    I recommend you use our field test protocols instead to identify your LTHR. While we respect lab results, every lab does it different, but we’ve standardized our field tests to our zones, and I trust them more than a lab results at this point.


    Jan M. Kürzinger

    Thank you for your reply, David, guess I’ll have to look into it again and redo the testing. Thanks a lot and all the best!!

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Jan M. Kürzinger

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