Power meters are becoming more and more affordable and many of us are starting to understand the benefit of having one, but knowing what to do with one is a whole different matter. In fact, without the knowledge of the numbers they generate, it actually has little use at all.
Now many coaches and training systems will use different training zones, but I've always used the seven zone system developed by Dr. Andy Coggan. And actually, a lot of training software, such as Training Peaks, will use the same training zones. These zones work on a percentage of your FTP. Make it easy for you to track your intensity in real time, through your bike computer.
So, zone one, also referred to as the Active Recovery zone. And this lies at 55% of your FTP and below. So using an example of a FTP of 300 watts, this means you need to ride below 165 watts. And, as the name suggests, this is for a recovery ride intensity. So an easy and conversational pace. Perhaps the day after a race or a hard session.
Now zone two is the Endurance zone, and this is between 56 and 75% of your FTP. Which works out to between 168 and 225 watts of our 300 watt FTP example. And again this should be a relatively comfortable pace. This should allow you to maintain a conversation with a training partner if you have one.
Zone three is our Tempo zone, and this is between 76 and 90% of our FTP. This is starting to ramp up a little now so you will need to concentrate to make sure you stay within the zone. And this works out at between 228 and 270 watts of our 300 watt FTP. Now this will require good fueling to maintain this intensity for any duration.
Zone four is the Lactate Threshold zone. And as the name suggests, this isn't a very pleasant zone. It's between 91 and 105% of your FTP. So it's not the kind of effort you'll be able to sustain for a long period of time. This works out between 273 and 315 watts of our 300 watt FTP. So it's around our sprint to Olympic distance triathlon intensity, depending on the level of athlete you are.
Zone five is pretty much your VO2Max. It's between 106 and 120% of your FTP. Which works out between 318 and 360 watts of our FTP example. Simply put, this is a tough intensity. Your legs are gonna hurt, so any efforts in this zone are gonna be relatively short.
Zone six is the Anaerobic Capacity zone. So efforts at this intensity are gonna be even shorter again. It's between 121 and 150% of your FTP. That's between 363 and 450 watts of our example. So any efforts or intervals in this zone are gonna be between a few seconds to a few minutes, at most.
Finally, zone seven is the Neuromuscular zone. And it's actually hard to define this zone other than it being above 150% of your FTP. It's basically maximal sprinting, for no more than a few seconds. So there we go, that is how to use a power meter. And also the training zones, for training and also for pacing for your races.
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