Zone X- Newbie having trouble (more than expected) staying out of the X | 80/20 Endurance

Zone X- Newbie having trouble (more than expected) staying out of the X

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  • #15605

    Hello all,
    Frustrated to see yet again (in my 2nd week) my “easy” foundation run (I’m using a pace based program) has me in Zone X ALOT (20-30% of the main set)… My zones are accurate, for sure, but I seem to creep into Zone X. Any tips for avoiding this pace creep when it feels (esp in cool/cold weather like a slow pace).
    Hoping I can get over this barrier as I get a better feel for slowing down.

    Matt Fitzgerald

    This is quite common, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck. Athletes who succeed in breaking the habit typically do so through self-talk. The part of you that truly believes you will benefit by consistently holding yourself back in Zone 2 workouts needs to have an active voice in your head when you’re doing them. Give that voice self-reminder mantras like “Slower on Wednesday, faster on race day” to recite. Or heck, it could even be my voice, telling you “Trust the system, JB.” I know it seems hard to hold yourself back now, but it is possible to get to a place where you embrace restraint.

    Marius T

    When I see that my pace is going up in zone X, I stop running and start walking for 30 seconds.
    It is like a mental reset. Use the 30 sec to refocus and remenber that you must stay in the correct zones


    Thanks these are good suggestions! Appreciate it


    I’ve found that it helps not doing your easy runs right at the top of zone 2. That way, you have a build-in buffer in case you start to accelerate. One you develop a your easy gear, it’s not difficult to pull this off. If you’re on relatively flat terrain, it helps to recalibrate your pace at the beginning of each new mile. I also tend to keep speeding up. If you readjust with each new mile, only a minor adjustment is needed and it feels very natural.

    Also, it helps paying attention to your breathing rate. For me, a 4/5 (steps per inhale/exhale) breathing rate ensures that the run stays easy. If this becomes difficult and I need to switch to a 4/4 breathing rate, I know that I’m either dehydrated (almost never happens) or pushing it into marathon pace territory. Your easy breathing rate might be different. But if you’ll do a truly easy run and figure out your breathing rate, that should give you a good reference point going forward.


    Thanks @AlanCraig- my zones are pretty slow, (Z2 = 11:10 to 12:47) so a lot of time I feel like I’m just walking fast LOL. Hoping as I gain some improved cardiac conditioning those paces will improve and in mean time I just have to check every couple minutes to make sure I am not creeping…

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