Confusion Polar HR set up for 80/20 plan | 80/20 Endurance

Confusion Polar HR set up for 80/20 plan

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    Hi Recently bought an 80/20 training plan through training peaks and I am trying to follow the guides to setting up HRZ’s on my POLAR Grit which has 5 zones like the Garmin. Have read the page on how to set the Zones on a Garmin which is fine, confused by my first workout plan as it wants me to run 35mins in Z2 but says on the Garmin set up that Z2(x) should be avoided. Please can someone help me out and let me know whether the plan references different setting a to the ones recommended on the Website?


    David Warden


    Thanks for using our plans. For context, for the rest of our Forums members, a few comments on the root problem:

    – The 80/20 zones are a proprietary system designed to support the optimal intensity balance.
    – Some 3rd party platforms have adapted our system and make it easy to incorporate 80/20 into the platform and device (TrainingPeaks, Final Surge, Iron Cowboy…) but Garmin and Polar have not (yet!). Fortunately, you can program most platforms with custom zones that match 80/20 zones so that your device is consistent with the 80/20 system.
    – However, Garmin does not allow for the user to create custom zones in order to match 3rd party zones. You are forced to use their zones and nothing else (an exception is the structured workouts sent to the device by TrainingPeaks). To clarify, Garmin does let you edit the upper and lower level of each of their 6 zone “buckets” but you cannot change the total number of buckets from 6.
    – To help users who use 80/20 plans but are not on the TrainingPeaks platform, we created the document How to Create 80/20 Zones On Your Garmin Device. This is not a solution, it is a workaround.

    Cosmo, back to your direct issue.

    First, I’m unfamiliar with Polar. Does Polar allow you to fully create custom zones? Meaning, specifically, can you freely create 4 or 10 zones and the user-defined range of each zone? If so, then you don’t need the Garmin doc, you would create your Polar zones to match the 80/20 zones exactly as you see them in the Zone Calculator. Then, Zone 2 = Zone 2 at all times.

    However, if you cannot fully customize zones with Polar (which I suspect you can’t) then we’ll have to try and fit them in. Unless Polar has the exact same number of zone buckets as Garmin (they don’t), the Garmin document you are using won’t work for your Polar device.

    So, I recommend aligning what I think are the 5 set polar zones as follows:

    Polar Zone 1 = 80/20 Zone 1
    Polar Zone 2 = 80/20 Zone 2
    null = 80/20 Zone X
    Polar Zone 3 = 80/20 Zone 3
    null = 80/20 Zone Y
    Polar Zone 4 = 80/20 Zone 4
    Polar Zone 5 = 80/20 Zone 5

    …and we just do not define Zone X nor Y, you’ll just have to avoid Zone X and Y on your own. I’m also assuming that Polar will allow you to define zones by % of LTHR and not only by %MaxHR.

    Remember, you don’t need to program zones at all on any device. Sure, it is more convenient, but all you need to do is memorize your 80/20 zones. When the workout calls for Zone 2, you know that means 130-144 bpm for you. This is how we trained for decades before you could program zones into a device.



    Hi David

    Thanks for your reply. I have discovered that Polar is even less flexible than Garmin when it comes to entering data. Garmin you can at least set your ‘training plans’ to work between a determined hr irrelevant of the Zones you have entered. Sadly Polar you can’t, you are stuck with setting your workout to Zones, 5 of them, even though you can edit them in the ‘Sport profile’ prior to doing the workout. Also you are unable to miss segments of your heart rate out as in X and Y, Z1 goes to Z2 and Z2 to Z3. Disappointing as Polar pride themselves on the best HR monitors in the business but the most inflexible when it comes to adjusting them for training.

    My work around for the sake of everyone else- I would be keen to hear what others have done – My LT is 162 bpm

    Polar Zone 1 = 80/20 Zone 1 117/131 bpm
    Polar Zone 2 = 80/20 Zone 2 132/145 bpm
    Polar Zone 3 = 80/20 Zone X 146/152 bpm
    Polar Zone 4 = 80/20 Zone 3 153/161 bpm
    Polar Zone 5 = 80/20 Zone Y 4/5 162/178 bpm (Y=162-165)

    I thought of combining Z1 and Z2 into Polar Zone 1 but thought that spending more time in Zone 1/2 could be easier controlled by having them seperate. I do like working at my FAT MAX which is 130 for my recovery runs which is easy to control if in a zone.

    Thanks again


    David Warden

    Andy, too bad on the Polar flexibility, but your proposed adjustments are exactly what I would have recommended given the Polar restraints. In a way, because you have even less options, Polar are almost easier to match to 80/20 than the Garmin solution.

    The only complex part of these adjusted zones is splitting up 80/20 Zone 4 and 5. However, you’ll soon find that using HR for Zone 4 and 5 is ineffective anyway, because those interval sessions are so short your HR won’t “catch-up” in time. Perceived effort or Pace will be a better guide for you in Zone 4 and 5 anyway.


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