Establishing your training zones

When it comes to training its important to know what the focus of each session is. this will give you a clear drive to hammer home key points eg technique advise, pacing, intensities. So how do we look to set your training zones up. Heres how at ITRI coaching we look to set you up for you training journey. Its worth pointing out that for these sessions to work properly ideally you would have a light session 24-48 hours out and a rest day in the last 24 hours leading to it to make sure you well rested


Swim – Critical swim speed

After a warm up and some picks ups to get you really prepped for 2 good swims. A 400 and a 200 m effort. There is a light swim or rest of around 3-5 mins between each. The goal is to be at a RPE 7-8 so a tough bit of work, also the idea is to be trying to be at the same pace through both distances per 100, not putting in so much effort in the 400m that you then struggle to pace through 200m. This system works out your threshold speed bu putting in the 2 times into the CSS calculator.

Depending on the swimmer will depend on the outcome, you will have someone be very quick in the first stages of the 400m and then drop off significantly over the remains of this and also the 200. You will also have someone be a lot more consistent over the 2 paces. Looking these 2 types of swimmers you may find the second swimmer has a faster threshold or CSS time simply because they can hold a higher percentage of their threshold pace overall and more consistently. Therefore the we would want to improve the percentage of threshold speed towards their max speed. The first swimmer will have a better max speed but over a shorter time and drops off pace quicker, meaning that they might be faster over 50-100 m but as the length of swim increases the times become slower than swimmer 2. So the goal is to improve the aerobic and endurance side of things. this 9 min video at the bottom of the page from Paul Newsome from Swim Smooth explains in more and better detail.


Bike – FTP test (functional threshold power)


FTP is the amount of watts you can hold (power) for 60 mins in length, it would be very tough towards the end of it and had to maintain throughout, it would push you to the limits by the end. There are 3 ways to test this to get this figure and set you up for training

1 – 60 min max power test – This test would be the most accurate, however many athletes worry an=bout how to pace and execute the session so often leads to them working too hard too soon or too low effort and hard to judge. So most athletes wouldn’t use this test. Its also a very very demanding test that would need a few days of recovery before hitting any form of targeted intervals. This can be an inside or outside workout

2 – 20 min FTP test – a 20 min all out but as consistent effort as possible. Tough to execute. As the test is 20 mins rather than 60 the average watts maintained would be misleading to use as your FTP, so after years of study its been agreed to take 95% of the average watts to make the FTP. This is a very demanding test and often needs 24-72 hours to completely recover from. This can be an inside or outside workout

3 – The ramp test – This session starts very easy and builds by 20 watts every 60 secs. You simply keep going until you just cant hold o to the power targets of this. It works out more of a max power effort and there the percentage of the final 60 secs is taken and divided into 75% to give you your FTP figure. this test is more demanding for a short period of time but overall less stressful and a return to normal training can be quicker. Its a test thats being used a lot more often now as it can be completed more regularly to. This would be in general be on a turbo or static bike that will work with watts .


Run – Threshold test

Depending on the runners fitness and experience will determine the length of the session. After a good warm up and pick ups to get you ready for work

Test 1 – 20 min all pout but consistent effort, taking the average Heart rate and average pace as the threshold HR and pace

Test 2 – 30 mins all out but consistent effort, taking the average pace as threshold pace and the last 20 mins average HR as the threshold HR


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