Zone 2 Pace | 80/20 Endurance

Zone 2 Pace

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    I am a few weeks into a 80/20 10K running plan, based on pace. I used a recent 5K time to calculate my pace zones.

    What I am finding is that on some days my Zone 2 runs feel a bit tougher than I think they should, I’ve completed them easy enough but sometimes my breathing feels heavy and it can be a struggle.

    If this is the case should I just reduce my pace so that it feels easy or should I just stick with the pace in Zone 2?

    Also when it comes to my actual 10K race, how do I know what pace i should be running at when it comes to race time?




    Are you using only pace to set your zones, or do you have heart rate data as well?


    Yeah I’ve only used pace to set them not using HR.

    David Warden

    Scott, sorry for my delayed reply.

    First, when Zone 2 is called for, Zone 1 is just fine. The division between Zone 2 and Zone X (the threshold between low and moderate intensities) in the 80/20 system is empirical. The division between Zone 1 and Zone 2 in the 80/20 system is an estimate. Matt and I just made a best guess on where Zone 1 ends and Zone 2 starts. There is no empirical data for “low intensity” and “really low intensity.” Therefore, high Zone 1 is still low intensity, and qualifies in the 80/20 system the same way as Zone 2. Feel free to hover in Zone 1 when Zone 2 is called for.

    Because some days feel too hard and other don’t, you’re probably pretty close to the correct zones. All the distance-based method threshold estimates are…estimates. They will be close but not exact as the full 20-minute protocol will be.

    For your 10K event pacing, see



    Ideal David. Thanks for your reply and help.

    That’s the answer I was hoping for!

    Anyway loving the plan, thanks again!



    Kinda had the same issue regarding what pace do I run for my recent 1/2 marathon.

    I posed the same question in the general topics section if you want to take a look at Matt’s responses.

    Not sure about the 10K plan, but a few weeks prior to race day is an RHM1 session in the 1/2 marathon plan. My execution of that training session really helped me dial in my race pace. Having done a couple 70.3s before, I had an idea of where I wanted to be but that session really helped.

    As to the chart is the link David gave you, I was actually able to pace mid Z3. It had been a few weeks since my last threshold test so perhaps my threshold had improved slightly. Either that or I’m just frickin’ awesome. I’ll go with the latter.

    Hope this helps.

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