training routines: Active Threshold 30

note: if you are not training with an hr monitor or are wearing one but don’t know what your hr zones are, this information will be useless. if you need information about hr zones, please check out: https://joefrielsblog.com/quick-guide-to-training-with-heart-rate-power-and-pace/

today’s training ride is AT30, and it’s one of my favourite training rides as it can be done anywhere on any bike. no need to find a steep hill for repeats or a flat section of smooth road for cadence spinups- just you, somewhere, on a bike, staying in the upper end of zone 2 for half the ride. it’s a real beaut that won’t wear you out. great for before or after work, if you’re unfortunate enough to have a job 😉

here’s how AT30 works for me:
15 minutes warmup in zone one (for me, 119-149 bpm. i have a fast engine!)
30 minutes high end of zone two or low end of zone three (150-162 bpm)
15 minutes cool down in zone one

effort-wise, zone 2 can be described as “sustained aerobic activity.” when i was running a lot and not using hr zones (i like to call this the amateur hour of my athletic career) i used to consider myself in zone 2 if i could chat with the person running next to me (usually my mum). this is actually a pretty good indicator. while that may not seem like a lot of effort, especially in sports where we’re pushed to be at V02 max during races, zone 2 is actually where you make 65% of your power. additionally, your body uses fat as power in this aerobic range which for most of us is in much greater supply than glycogen, the stuff our bodies burn at higher exertion rates.

basically, spending a large percentage of time in zone 2 will help your body learn how to utilise long term energy for sustained amounts of time. this is great news for endurance athletes! word on the street is if you stay in zone 2 a few workouts a week, your pace will increase without causing the glycogen burn stressout and exhaustion that comes with higher zone activity.

trainingpeaks has a great blog about this (yeah, it’s for triathletes, those weirdos, but it’s still great advise) here: https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/why-triathletes-should-train-in-zone-2/

for your amusement, here is a photo of me in 2014, nearing the end of amateur hour, on the day i brought my first bicycle home. it’s hard to believe i was that fat and soft just 6 years ago! also, for the record, i have learned how to wear socks.