Zone 1 vs Zone 2

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    I’ve been back to running for 20 weeks after missing 11 weeks over the course of 3 months. Injuries are all rehabbed and healed. Feeling 100 percent better and stronger

    I started slow and easy, only running 3 days a week. Gradually I built up to running 6 days a week with no problem. After following a power based training plan, I realized that my aerobic stamina wasn’t quite what I thought it was. If I had to guess, my CP/FTP might be overestimated because of my anaerobic work capacity. So I was following my power zones, but pushing too hard, which was leaving me fatigued.

    So I’ve backed off and have been going easy for 2 weeks. I’m feeling much better now. Going by feel, I’m finding myself doing everything but my long run in zone 1, and the long run in the slower part of zone 2. As far as aerobic benefit, what’s the difference between these two zones? I feel like I could run a zillion miles in zone 1 without really wearing out. So maybe I need a bit more aerobic stimulus. Anyway, I just wanted to check on this. Thanks in advance!

    David Warden


    Really glad to hear that you are back on track with your training.

    While the division between Zone 2 and X (low and moderate intensity) is empirical, the division between Zone 1 and 2 is not. That division is not covered in Seiler’s research, or any other research I’m aware of. In the real world, low is low. Matt and I split up “low” into Zone 1 and Zone 2 to define the recovery level of easy from the aerobic level of easy. That Zone 1/2 demarcation division could easily be too high or too low. Matt and I used our best judgment.

    It’s possible that there is a difference in training effect between Low Zone 2 and high Zone 1, but I don’t think so. You should not have any concerns about preforming the workout in Zone 1 when Zone 2 is called for. It’s 80/20 training, not 40/40/0/10/0/5/5 training. Zone 1 and Zone 2 are easy.


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