Training Zones to Maximise a Session

training zones

Do you know what you are trying to achieve in a training session? Do you know how to achieve that?

At Red Hippo we set a lot of sessions for people every day, every week. We love the fact that more and more people are moving and setting goals - but one of the most disappointing facts is that many people's sessions are not tailored for their goals, or worse, actively work against these goals!

Too often someone tells us happily that they've done a great session that day. Awesome! Out of curiosity and support we'll often ask what they did (knowing what they were trying to achieve) and rarely does the session marry the goal...

Before we begin to give some parameters that you can work within, here's just a quick thought about specificity vs general fitness capacity:

Both have pros and cons. The more specific you become, the better (to a point) that you are at that task/fitness/movement, but the more likely you are to be less adaptive to general stressors and injury etc. On the other hand, if you're general in your fitness/movement capabilities you're much more adaptive and diverse, but you will unlikely ever be at the point where you can push something so hard you experience all the autotelic, intrinsic gains that physical practice offers (unless you dedicate your life to moving "non-specifically" - an we're talking hours and hours per day for this).

You have to be generally capable before being able to focus on specificity. Try to shortcut this fact and you'll not get far! e.g.. if you're unconditioned and your goal is to run a half marathon - you need to spend adequate time on the building blocks of movement and physiology before or at least simultaneously in the early days of your running pursuits

Even if you want generalised capability - you still need to apply specific stress at an increasing rate relative to your "fitness" to get an adaptation - to the point where if you spread your workload to generally throughout the week in both style and volume, you'll miss any progress.

Here's some principles to apply for more productive sessions: Reproduced courtesy of Vladimir Issurin with further references in the image. It's one of our favourite books about training!

Aerobic endurance:1-8mins work, 1:0.3 work to rest ratio, medium intensity, 4-16 reps, 1-3 sets, 2.5-4 blood lactate mmol/L, 140-160 HR

Fat Oxidation:20-90min, no rest basically, Low intensity, 1-3 reps, 1-2.5 mmil/L and 100-140 HR

Anaerobic Glycolitic aka Lactate tolerance (endurance, not power - there are 2 breakdowns for Lactate work): 1-1.5 mins work, 1:3 rest ratio, High intensity, 8-12 reps, 1-3 sets, MAX mmil/L capability, >180 HR

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