Lucho on HR training/racing

  • Uses terms interchangeably –Base, MAF, zone 2 – all kind of the same thing

  • Depends on the type of athlete and if his athlete is using threshold or not

  • Lots of his athletes are just MAF based
  • But Triathletes use zones, ftp, threshold tests


  • Base = zone 1 / zone 2 / threshold -20 (+/- a few BPM)

    • Wide range

    • MAF is well below 50/50 fat/carb burn

    • Very moderate

    • Without an RQ / metabolic efficiency test, it’s a bit of a guess, but you have to assume the MAF formula is good (if doing MAF)

    • (really fit athlete could have MAF = zone 3)


  • Tempo = roughly MAF + 10 or threshold -10; zone 3

    • But this is different based on the type of athlete

    • Ultra-runner vs. Olympic distance triathlete

      • Triathlete should have a wider zone 3

      • Triathlete may have a 15 beats below threshold

      • Ultra may be 5 beats below threshold (b/c threshold is low)

    • If an athlete only does MAF, nothing else at all, then threshold will drop, closer to MAF

      • You’ve closed the zone 3, 4 window – and zone 4 may be eliminated

      • E.g. MAF was 5:50; dropped to 5:40 in marathon and went above threshold, so MAF + 10 was “blow up”

      • Big negative for marathoner and most other athletes like sprint and Olympic distance triathletes, but not so bad for 100 miler…

      • Trying to keep a theoretical space between what you can hold for 1 hour vs. 3 hours

      • Example of elite marathoners dropping 20-30s/mile for a short burst (mile) and being fine, but if you don’t have that window, you can’t do it…

      • Having a high end is important

      • Doesn’t take 6 months of speed work

      • Short periods of vo2max, speed, threshold work will bring it back up

      • E.g. 7 weeks, 1 speed session per week, is adequate

  • Tempo vs. threshold

    • Threshold = 98-103% of LT

    • Tempo = can hold for over an hour, or up to 2

    • A “feel”

    • HR will drift over the hour+

    • (so ignore HR)

  • Lactate threshold/FTP – zone 4, a bit into zone 5

  • Zone 5 – VO2Max

    • Close to mile repeat efforts, but no HRM on mile repeats

    • But if you max mile is 8 minutes – that’s too long

    • VO2Max cut off is 5 – 5:30 minutes


  • Mile

    • Close to vo2max, or just under, depending on actual duration

    • VO2max is 5-5:30 minutes

  • 5k

    • Start at threshold, or just under, or you start to fast

  • Half Marathon – threshold

    • But again depends on speed

    • 2 hours = zone 3/aerobic threshold

    • 1:15 – 1:20 zone 4

  • Marathon speed is zone 3

    • May start at MAF, drifts to z3 by mile 6 or 7, drifts to z4 at 15-20 => no single marathon HR as it changes during the race

    • Marathon pace is “aerobic threshold” (Canova) – 50/50 fat/carb burn

  • 50 miler

    • mostly MAF or lower for most runners

    • but those going really fast (6 hours)  – moderate tempo


  • 100 miles

    • MAF, but with fatigue and cardiac drift, HR isn’t that useful

    • Use for 5-6 hours then don’t bother

  • Notes on terminology

    • If using “zone” based training, it’s not MAF

    • Zones are based off of threshold, MAF is not

    • Can make educated guess

    • E.g. MAF+20 = threshold – just a guide



  • Just need to be close – it’s hand grenades – these are big ranges

  • Take the calculators with a grain of salt – it’s the type of training you do that indicates what you are capable of…

  • Definitely likes athletes to at least use an HRM for a while – coach and athlete need to get on the same page w.r.t. terminology…  Also need to agree on perceived exertion…


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