Setting Up Training Zones

Setting up training zones for heart rate and power in TrainingPeaks is easy to do with 20 minute Field Test data. Once the athlete has uploaded their file, we go into TrainingPeaks and find their 20 minute Normalized Power and Average Heart Rate.

Finding Your 20 Min Power 

In the opened ride file, we click on the Lightning Bolt in the right hand data bar to switch to Peak Power, then scroll down to Peak 20:00 min. That selects the 20min effort and we can see the Normalized Power and Average Heart Rate from the test. By keeping the warm up, test effort, and cool down all in one file, we can see how the athlete did on the rest of the ride and if that may have affected their test. Plus we get a full Training Stress Score (TSS) for the day's ride.

Calculating your FTP

From Joe Rider's 224 watt Normalized Power, we subtract 5%, and enter the 213 watts in our FasCat Zones Sheet to calculate his training zones. You can also enter that number into our new training zones calculator to determine your zones. We'll also add in his average heart rate of 168bpm from the test (we do not subtract 5% for HR). To keep everything accurate, we then add those numbers to his Power and Heart Rate Zones in TrainingPeaks. In Joe Rider's Account Settings, we input his calculated 213 watt FTP, choose "threshold power" for the auto calculation and use Andy Coggan's zones from the drop-down menu.

Next we add the all-important 83-97% of FTP Training Zone, Sweet Spot (for Joe that is 178-207 watts). With that his power zones are set!

Setting HR Zones

Lastly to set his HR zones, we enter his average HR from his 20 min field test into the threshold HR field on the training peaks settings page (remember, we do not subtract 5% for HR like we do for power). From there we'll go into the auto calculation and choose "lactate threshold" for the type and Andy Coggins (5) for the method and then press "calculate". Finally we'll manually add in the sweet spot zone between zones 3 and 4, which is 90-100% of your threshold heart rate.

Now we can go into Joe Rider's files and see how much time he's spent at Sweet Spot or other zones in a group ride, race, or hill repeats! 

If you are planning to use HR zones to follow your training plan, check out the video below. It will walk you through how to adjust your workouts so they are displayed on your bike computer using HR instead of power.


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About Frank Overton

Frank founded FasCat Coaching in 2002 and has been a full time cycling coach since 2004. His educational background includes a Masters degree in Physiology from North Carolina State University, pre-med from Hampden-Sydney College. Frank raced at a professional level on the road and mountain bike and currently competes as a "masters" level gravel and cyclocrosser. Professionally Frank comes from medical school spinal cord research and molecular biotechnology. However, to this day it is a dream come true for Frank to be able to help cyclists as a coach.

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