Threshold HR and Threshold Pace Mismatched | 80/20 Endurance

Threshold HR and Threshold Pace Mismatched

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    I am a beginner runner aiming to complete my first 5k using TP as a guide.

    Did my test for the Threshold HR and Pace together in a same 30min trial.

    According to my trial, my Thresold HR is 177bpm, and Threshold pace is 8:49min/km.
    The zone calculation is as follow:
    Z1: 127 to 143
    Z2: 143 to 159

    Z1: 11:36 to 14:42
    Z2: 10:08 to 11:36

    I’m following the 5k level 0 training plan which tells me to do a mixture of zone 1 and zone 2.

    my question is, if i follow the zone in pace, i have to walk baby steps to achieve. However, i can most definitely run if i follow the HR zone. Which one should i follow, HR Zone or Pace? LOLLLLL

    Please help a running noob here.


    David Warden

    Rad, this is not a noob question, it’s probably one of the top 5 questions we get on the Forums.

    First, you did the test exactly right and I confirm your zones.

    Second, while the division between low and moderate (Zone 2 and X) in the 80/20 system is empirical, the division between Zone 1 and 2 is, and even the fact that we split “easy” intensity between Zone 1 and 2 is not. It’s a best-guess by Matt and I. In other words, easy is easy. We created Zone 1 to force athletes to slow down for for recovery intervals.

    The point here is that if the workout calls for Zone 1, you can stay in Zone 2 and are still 100% in the 80/20 system.

    For you, that means unlimited time at a 10:08 pace. That’s certainly not fast, but should not be baby steps for anyone. 10:08 is real running. Therefore, just stay at 10:08 for Zone 1 or Zone 2.

    If 10:08 is still baby steps, I’m surprised, but if it is, then use HR for now. In 3 months your Pace threshold will be 8:15 and your Zone 2 will be 9:29 and this won’t be an issue. But, for now, using HR is great.



    thank you so much david! appreciate it!

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