Zone 2 training refers to a specific intensity range used in endurance sports training that’s usually based on heart rate. It is often referred to as the “aerobic zone” since it refers to moderate-intensity exercise that can be sustained for longer periods of time without excessive fatigue.
Training in this zone is one of the most important parts of a training program. It mostly recruits Type I muscle fibres which are your endurance fibres, also known as slow twitch fibres. These fibres have the highest mitochondrial density and capacity.
The main thing Zone 2 training does is increase mitochondria production. Mitochondria are important organelles within cells that play a key role in energy production. Regular zone 2 training can help increase the number and size of mitochondria within cells, which can improve the body’s overall energy production capacity. This occurs through a process called mitochondrial biogenesis, which is the creation of new mitochondria within cells.
What are the benefits of Zone 2 training?
This increase in mitochondria can have a number of benefits which can help improve performance in endurance sports such as cycling, running, and swimming. Some of these benefits include:
- Improved Aerobic Fitness: Zone 2 training is particularly effective at improving your body’s ability to use oxygen efficiently, which can enhance your overall aerobic fitness. This is because when you exercise at this intensity, your body is able to take in enough oxygen to produce energy through aerobic metabolism.
- Increased Endurance: Zone 2 training is characterized by longer-duration workouts that can help you build endurance. By exercising at a moderate intensity for extended periods, you can improve your body’s ability to maintain that level of exertion without fatigue.
- Increased Fat Burning: By exercising at a moderate intensity, your body is able to use fat as a primary energy source, which can help you lose weight and improve body composition.
- Reduced Risk of Injury: Zone 2 training is lower in intensity which can reduce the risk of injury that’s associated with high-impact exercises. This makes it a good option for individuals who are just starting an exercise program or for those who are recovering from an injury.
- Improved Recovery: It can help you recover from higher-intensity workouts by promoting blood flow and flushing out waste products from the muscles. This can help reduce soreness and speed up recovery time between workouts.
How to calculate your Zone 2 heart rate.
The heart rate for Zone 2 is 60-70% of a person’s maximum heart rate. To calculate your Zone 2 heart rate, use the following calculations:
[220 – (your age)] x 0.6 = 60% of your max heart rate
[220 – (your age)] x 0.7 = 70% of your max heart rate
These two calculations will give you the Zone 2 heart rate range you should be in while training.
Please note that this target heart rate can be affected by other factors such as your fitness and maximum heart rate, but this will give you a general guideline.
Zone 2 training is often used as a base training phase for endurance athletes, and it can be supplemented with higher-intensity training in to build speed and strength. Most of your training should be done in this zone.
It is important to consult with your doctor or healthcare provider before starting any training program.
If you need help creating a personalized training plan, contact me! As an endurance coach, I work with athletes of all levels, from beginners to experienced competitors.