Zones Are a Range, and Not a Specific Number, Featuring an All-Star Cast of Guests

In this episode we look at the big picture when it comes to training in zones, or ranges, versus training a target number. Because what number is best?

Fast Talk Podcast Q&A
Photo: Simon Connellan

We’re incredibly lucky here at Fast Talk Labs to be able to talk with some of the most intelligent physiologists, coaches, and athletes about training, and sport science generally, on a weekly basis. We glean so much insightful information just by having access to them on a regular basis. Through Coach Connor’s countless hours of dedicated research to keep up on the latest science, we’re then able to synthesize all of this information into what we hope are digestible conversations, helping you to better understand the science that propels cycling performance. Occasionally, we like to step back and summarize the things we’ve learned, often prompted by the many questions we receive from our dedicated listeners. Today is just such an occasion. The last time we did this type of show was Episode 68: The Big Picture—The Three Types of Rides You Should Do. Today, we look at the big picture when it comes to training in zones, or ranges, versus training a target number. Because what number is best? We talk about training zones constantly. If your zone 2 is 160 to 190 watts, for example, then is training at 190 watts better than training at 170 watts? Is going harder always better? Stay tuned for those answers. Next, we’ll address four fundamental principles of human physiology that relate to training in ranges: specifically aerobic and anaerobic thresholds, fat burning capacity, and maximal lactate clearance—all in an effort to maximize your training experience. Finally, we take an opportunity to remind everyone that humans aren’t machines. Perhaps that’s stating the obvious, but sometimes it’s good to remind ourselves that we are all individuals and have different needs, and goals for our riding. Today we hear from a vast array of former Fast Talk guests, including:

  • Colby Pearce, an incredible time trialist, coach, and bike fitting expert
  • Dr. Stephen Seiler, one of the world’s leading sports physiologists
  • Sepp Kuss, pro cyclist with Jumbo-Visma
  • Toms Skujins, pro cyclist with Trek-Segafredo
  • Dr. Andy Coggan and Dr. Stephen McGregor, leading exercise physiologists
  • Hunter Allen, leading cycling coach
  • Sebastian Weber, lead scientist at INSCYD and elite cycling coach

Let’s make you fast!

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  6. Messonnier, L. A., Emhoff, C.-A. W., Fattor, J. A., Horning, M. A., Carlson, T. J., & Brooks, G. A. (2013). Lactate kinetics at the lactate threshold in trained and untrained men. Journal of Applied Physiology, 114(11), 1593-1602. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00043.2013 
  7. Serrano, E., Venegas, C., Escames, G., Sanchez-Munoz, C., Zabala, M., Puertas, A., et al. (2010). Antioxidant defence and inflammatory response in professional road cyclists during a 4-day competition. J Sports Sci, 28(10), 1047-1056. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2010.484067 
  8. Urhausen, A., Weiler, B., Coen, B., & Kindermann, W. (1994). Plasma catecholamines during endurance exercise of different intensities as related to the individual anaerobic threshold. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol, 69(1), 16-20.  

Episode Transcript

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