Getting in the Zone

Let’s start with Power, here I’m using the Andy Coggan method, recommended by Joe Friel and the default option on Training Peaks.

Power Zone Zone Description FTP %
1. Recovery Active recovery less than 55
2. Aerobic Aerobic or extensive endurance 55-75
3. Tempo Intensive endurance 75-90
4. Threshold Lactate Threshold 90-105
5. VO2 Max Muscular endurance or aerobic capacity 105-120
6. Anaerobic Anaerobic Capacity 120-150
7. Power Neuromuscular Power greater than 150

So this would be great if it was used everywhere, but with power meters being still rather pricey we need to be able to translate these to Heart Rate zones. So this is how I think these relate to power based on Joe Friel’s cycling zones.

Power Zone Heart Rate Zone FTHR %
1. Recovery 1 less than 68
2. Aerobic 2 68-83
3. Tempo 3 83-94
4. Threshold 4 94-105
5. VO2 Max 5a greater than 105
6. Anaerobic 5b n/a
7. Power 5c n/a

So in the version of the Mountain Biker’s Training Bible I have Joe uses Critical Power as a guide to which zone to be in. These are pretty hard to relate back to the Coggan zones but here is my best guess. I’ve included some details on a typical ride which I found in another of his books.

Power Zone Critical Power Typical Ride
1. Recovery CP180 n/a
2. Aerobic CP180 5h ride
3. Tempo CP180 3h ride
4. Threshold CP30-60 8-30 min intervals
5. VO2 Max CP12-60 3-8 min intervals
6. Anaerobic CP1-6 30 sec – 3 min intervals
7. Power CP.2 less than 30 sec intervals

And finally I’ll try to relate these to the Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scale which is 6 to 20. There is also a 1 to 10 version of this used in the old Friel books. But it’s quite hard to relate the 1-10 scale as it is very vague around the 6 value.

Power Zone RPE (6-20) RPE (1-10) RPE Description
1 6-8 0 No exertion at all to extremely light
2 9-11 1-4 Very light to light
3 12-14 4-5.5 Somewhat hard to hard
4 15 6 Hard (heavy)
5 16 6.5 Harder
6 17-18 7-8 Very hard
7 19-20 9-10 Extremely hard to maximal exertion
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