Run Zone Calculator


Calculating Pace & HR

Understanding your Functional Threshold Pace (FTP) and Threshold Heart Rate (THR) is key to unlocking the full potential of your training. These metrics act as your personal benchmarks, guiding the intensity of your workouts with precision.

FTP and THR are the cornerstones for setting your training zones. These zones are tailored intensity levels that align with specific training outcomes, whether it’s boosting endurance, refining your lactate threshold, or maximizing power output. By aligning your workouts with these zones, you’re ensuring each run is optimized for the right kind of improvement.

FTP signifies the highest pace you can sustain for an hour — a measure of endurance and power. THR, on the other hand, marks the heart rate at which you shift from relying mainly on aerobic processes to more anaerobic ones. These metrics allow you to structure your workouts based on pace or heart rate targets, ensuring that you’re training efficiently and effectively.

Moreover, regularly updating your FTP and THR allows you to track your progress over time. Improvements in FTP signal enhanced pace capabilities, while changes in THR indicate cardiovascular development. This ongoing assessment helps tailor your training to match your evolving fitness level.

Functional Threshold Pace & HR Test

To calculate your threshold pace and heart rate from your Threshold test, enter your average pace and average heart rate over the 20/30 minute duration (excluding warm up and cool down) and click calculate. You can enter this time into Training Peaks and make a note of the calculated zones for your future reference. To update Training Peaks follow this online guide: Update Zones On Training Peaks.

Pace Threshold Calculator

Training in specific zones is key to honing different aspects of your fitness, each with distinct benefits. Integrating Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE), Threshold Heart Rate (THR), and Pace percentages helps tailor your training more precisely. Here’s how it breaks down:

  • Zone 1 – Active Recovery and Endurance:

    • RPE: 2-4 (Light effort, easy to maintain)
    • THR: <75% of Threshold Heart Rate
    • Pace: <68% of Threshold Pace
    • This zone is all about recovery and building endurance with minimal effort. It’s perfect for days off or long, steady runs, focusing on enhancing blood flow, muscle recovery, and building an aerobic base.
Running Snowdon
  • Zone 2 – Aerobic Endurance:

    • RPE: 4-6 (Comfortable; can hold a conversation)
    • THR: 75-85% of Threshold Heart Rate
    • Pace: 68-79% of Threshold Pace
    • Here, you’re working at a moderate intensity to boost aerobic capacity, endurance, and fat utilization. It’s the sweet spot for strengthening your cardiovascular system and laying the groundwork for endurance events.

  • Zone 3 – Tempo and Lactate Threshold:

    • RPE: 6-7 (Challenging but sustainable)
    • THR: 86-90% of Threshold Heart Rate
    • Pace: 80-88% of Threshold Pace
    • Training in this zone improves lactate clearance and endurance at high intensities. It’s about pushing to the edge of comfort to extend your ability to maintain faster paces without hitting the wall.

  • Zone 4 – VO2 Max:

    • RPE: 8-9 (Very hard; conversation is a few words at best)
    • THR: 91-105% of Threshold Heart Rate
    • Pace: 89-100% of Threshold Pace
    • This high-intensity zone targets maximum oxygen uptake, enhancing your cardiovascular efficiency and ability to handle and recover from high-intensity efforts. It’s crucial for improving race performance and increasing power output.

  • Zone 5 – Anaerobic Capacity and Power:

    • RPE: 9-10 (Max effort; no talking)
    • THR: >105% of Threshold Heart Rate
    • Pace: >100% of Threshold Pace
    • The most intense zone, focusing on short, explosive efforts to boost your anaerobic energy system and high-power output. It’s essential for runners looking to excel in sprints and high-pace races.

Remember, the high-intensity nature of Zones 4 and 5 means you’ll spend less time here compared to the lower zones. This balance ensures you develop a comprehensive fitness profile while managing recovery and reducing the risk of overtraining. Always update your training zones in your plan and software to keep your workouts accurate and effective.

How To Test?

To discover your training zones, we focus on 20-minute efforts that challenge you across each discipline. This involves calculating your threshold pace, and heart rate. It’s a skill that becomes more intuitive with practice, so don’t worry if it feels tough at first.

I suggest retesting your thresholds every 4 to 8 weeks. This timeframe can vary based on your individual goals and how your training is progressing. Regular retesting is a fantastic way to see just how much you’ve improved and to ensure your training zones are always aligned with your current fitness level, keeping your training on point.

Also, I’ve created a specialized training week you can purchase on Training Peaks for $4.95. This plan integrates seamlessly with your sports watch and Zwift, making it super easy to test yourself in the comfort of your home.

This approach ensures your training evolves as you do, maximising your progress and keeping you motivated. Let’s make those gains visible!