# Zone Calculator Ranges

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• #20433
Gerald
Participant

Good Morning from Ohio.

I’m writing because I was looking for clarification on the algorithm of the 80/20 online zone calculator. I had someone who has read Run Like a Pro where the 6 min. time trial is used to determine their Maximum Aerobic Pace (3:18/km) and a recent 5K of 17:30. They determined their VT1 (upper limit of Zone 2) to be 5:00/km using the 60%-65% of MAP as explained in the book. However, the calculator has their Zone 2 limit as 4:20/km.

I’m fully aware this is a subject of 1 study. I’m just trying to better understand the logic of the algorithm to better explain what appears to be a mismatch at first blush. Thanks everyone for the input.

#20455
Leyla Porteous
Keymaster

Hi Gerald,

I have forwarded your query to Matt F directly and as soon as I hear back from him, or when he can get on the forums next we will get back to you on this question.

Cheers
Leyla

#20456
Gerald
Participant

Thanks Leyla. I will await the answer.

#20458
Leyla Porteous
Keymaster

Hi Gerald,

I reached out to Matt regarding your question and in short the differences are that they are different. The truth is that the top end of Zone 2 really does exceed VT1 for a lot of runners. In run like pro Matt recommends that runners generally stay at or below 65% of MAP in low-intensity runs. In the 80/20 Zone system the top of zone 2 will be set at 87% of threshold pace. My advice is to pick a system and stick it, you will find differences across all the zone systems, and the run like a pro system has differences to the 80/20 Online calculator. These situations always bring back to a post from David regarding different zone systems.

A Zone By Any Other Name Would Be Complete

#20459
deanmurley
Participant

I’d like to jump in on this.

The plans on TrainingPeaks pretty much match the ones in Run Like a Pro. However, if they’re based on two different systems for calculating the zones, how can they be the same?

I know that I can use RPE for zone 2, but I love the fact that the online plans work out the paces I need to hit for each element of my workouts. If I continue to use the 80/20 calculator, are my zones wrong? Is there another calculator on TP that I should use that matches the RLAP system?

It’s a bit confusing to be honest, and it would be good to get clarification on this before my next training block.

Thanks!

• This reply was modified 10 months, 3 weeks ago by deanmurley.
#20473
Leyla Porteous
Keymaster

Hi Dean,

Firstly there is no wrong here, but the top of zone 2 set in the 80/20 zone system through our structured plans falls in the range of VT1, in Run Like Pro Matt has gone 1 step further to define that he prefers to set the target lower at the 65% to really ensure runners are not bleeding their efforts in moderate as we commonly see.

Here is some further feedback from Matt directly.

The first ventilatory threshold is not really a point but a band. For practical purposes, though, you should pick a point and use it as a ceiling for low-intensity (i.e., Zone 2) efforts. The most conservative option is to put it at the bottom of the transitional range. That’s what scientists most often do, and in Run Like a Pro I present the scientific preference for VT1 placement. But that placement is really low, and it’s already hard enough to get a lot of athletes on board with 80/20 training, so in an effort to be empathetic, in the 80/20 zone scale we place the VT1 toward the top of the transitional range. It’s a legitimate placement, but because it is at the very top of the range, I generally prefer that most athletes hang out somewhat lower in Zone 2 in most of their Foundation and Endurance sessions.

So what does this mean for you in your training, if you want to follow the advice in Run Like a Pro, be sure to run your efforts lower in zone 2 if you can rather than always running the top of the zone which blurs into that transitional zone.

Any other questions let us know.

Leyla

#20474
Gerald
Participant

Leyla & Matt,

Thank you both very much. That helps explain things for me very much. I appreciate your answering this tremendously.

#20484
deanmurley
Participant

Thank you Leyla.

This is a bit of a conundrum.

When I work out my 65% of MAS (which is about 6 mins per mile), it gives me 9:14 per mile.

However, based on my recent HM time of 1:24:25, the calculator gives me a zone 2 of 7:11-8:11 mins per mile.

This is quite a discrepancy, and I’m not sure where to go with it. Could it have something to do with the fact that I am not fast (and that I struggle for pace over short distances), but I can hold a good zone 3 pace for 90 minutes? Could this explain the discrepancy? If so, what might you and Matt advise?

Many thanks for your ongoing help on this.

Dean

#20502
deanmurley
Participant

Hi again,

I wondered if there was any follow-up on my question above? I’ve just finished a 100 race and I’ll shortly be embarking on a new base building phase before transitioning into marathon training.

My big question is do I continue to use the TrainingPeaks zone 2 or switch to RLAP’s 65% of MAS? If the latter, then how do I calculate my other zones?

Also, as an ambassador, what should I be telling my peers? I’ve recommended the plans to several people, many of whom ask my advice before and after buying them.

I’m just a bit confused and would like to feel that I have the clarity to move forward.

Thank you.

Dean

#20507
Matt Fitzgerald
Keymaster

Hi Dean,

Sorry it’s taken me so long to answer. I was having access issues. The answer to your question is both. Treat the upper limit of Zone 2 the ceiling for your pace in low-intensity runs and run segments, but try to spend most of your Zone 2 time at or near 65% of MAS rather than gluing yourself to the upper limit of Zone 2.

Coach Matt

#20523
deanmurley
Participant

Hi Matt,

I didn’t see this, so I’m sorry for not thanking you sooner.

Thank you very much for your reply, which has clarified it for me. I’m looking forward to my next marathon block.

Dean

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### Gerald

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