Incredible results from 3 months of Zone 2 Heart Rate Triathlon Training


– Woo, good morning, Trainiacs. It is minus 19 Celsius,
minus three Fahrenheit. But it is particularly
chilly today because, (car door opening) because I am actually still
just wearing a towel and Speedo. This may look ridiculous, but I just did a fasted very light swim. Follow that up right now with
a little bit of cold exposure, a fair bit of cold
exposure, to shed some fat. Things I do for you guys,
they might not be smart, they may look ridiculous, but
I actually have some results from something that I
started doing last year that a lot of you have
been wondering about, with low heart rate training. And we got some really
interesting results to show you what you can improve with
that low heart rate training. Alright, I just gotta get home. It’s like five minutes away. I can do this, I can do this. (energetic electronic music) (sighs) Yeah. So that was cold, very, very cold. I immediately regretted that, as soon as I got outside the parking lot. Made it though. If you are interested in a little bit more of fasting and why we do that
and some free stuff on that, I’ll link to it at the end of the video. Okay, so a big, big part of Team Trainiac has been polarized training. So this means that the vast majority of your training you do either at really light intensities,
not very difficult, or really hard intensities,
quite difficult. This is to build your aerobic engine, the strength of your heart and lungs, your cardiovascular system, burn a ton of fat while
you are doing the workouts. This is to make you
stronger, faster, better. So you are building a big base of fitness and making yourself faster. This stuff over here has absolutely shell-shocked a lot of people because when we calculate
our heart rate zones, people are just astounded
at what light intensity is, how easy they need to
go with this easy work. And the response that I give is this is an indication of how
much potential you’ve got, because if you can do all of the workouts that you’ve been doing up to this point and your bottom end, your
low zones one and two, aren’t really that
trained very well at all, think about how much better you could be once they are trained with
doing this light intensity. And I think people grudgingly
have been doing the work but not yet seeing the results, and they’re just kind of trusting that it’s going to end up working out. I have results to show you. It’s not subtle, Grace. Come on up.
(hand tapping) Gracie’s staring at me,
we’re back in the pain cave. All is right in the world again. What we’ve got here are two separate but very, very similar workouts. The first workout I’m going to show you is about a three-hour ride that I was doing five and a half weeks out from Half Ironman World
Championships last year. Coming into last year, I hadn’t done a ton of just general zone one and two heart rate-controlled
base-building kind of fitness work, but I still felt really fit. I ended up doing a personal
best at Half Ironman Worlds. The next workout that
I’m going to show you is a workout that I did yesterday, about five weeks out from
Half Ironman Puerto Rico. But one of the main differences is that over the last three months I have done a huge amount
of heart rate-controlled, low, just general fitness building, zone one and two kind of efforts. And there is a significant
difference in the performance. So first I’m going to show
you last year’s workout. And if you zoom in on the side here, you see some of the stats. It was 106 kilometers, three hours, eight minutes, 42 seconds, with a training stress score
of 138, normalized power 187. Go down here. Average power 174, average
heart rate was 130. Okay, remember these, that
the average power is 174 and the average heart rate is 130. Now let’s go to yesterday’s workout here. Three hours, three minutes,
28 seconds, 104 kilometers. Training stress score of 156. So on the surface, largely
a very similar workout. The training stress score is higher, so theoretically this should
be more intense for me. But let’s also zoom down here. Average power 172, so my power average is actually eight watts higher. Normalized power is
almost 20 watts higher. But my heart rate was 118, 12 beats per minute lower on average. And I wasn’t really realizing this until the end of the workout, but the workout yesterday was six repeats of 15 minutes at or above race pace, and then a five-minute rest in between. And when I got to the
final two, I was like, you know what, this is
actually feeling quite easy. And I kept looking at my heart rate, expecting it to cardiac drift up and seeing a massive spike
and essentially crashing, because that’s what I remember these workouts to be like last year. In this case, I actually performed better and it took less of a toll on my body from a cardiovascular standpoint. If you know a lot about
heart rate training, you know that it’s fairly variable and there are some
things that influence it. Well, let’s look at a
couple of those things to start kinda normalizing
these two workouts. Well, last year’s workout
had an average cadence of 70. I was doing really low muscular
endurance cadence work. Yesterday’s workout had
an average cadence of 82. Typically when you have a higher cadence, your heart rate is actually higher. So even though yesterday
my heart rate was lower, it should have been theoretically higher. And the next thing that I want you to look at is just the map. You can see last year’s
workout was outdoors, whereas yesterday’s
workout was on Watopia. Now, why this is relevant is because typically when you’re inside on a trainer, your heart rate tends to be up, maybe about four to eight
beats a minute on average, because all of the heat just
kind of traps itself inside, whereas outside you
are easily able to shed a lot of that heat because the
wind is moving away from you. So again, these two things,
cadence and being indoors, you would think that my heart rate might actually be higher
yesterday than it was last year. And then finally the most
basic of all of this, look at the average speed. Yesterday’s average speed
was 34.2 kilometers per hour, whereas last year’s was
33.7 kilometers per hour. So a lot of the questions
that I’ve been getting, like I say, are does this actually work? How can I possibly go slower
and actually get faster? How can I actually make progress if at some points I’m doing
a seven-minute kilometer, if I feel like I’m barely moving? Well, I felt the same thing for the last three or four months, just trusting that the science, the study, the number of pro triathletes that follow a ton of polarized training where they build up
that big base of fitness and then come race season they sharpen up with a bunch of race pace efforts, I was hoping that it would pay off. And what we’re seeing right now is that with just about three
race-effort kind of workouts I can take that big base of fitness and really start
sharpening up for the race. And the ability to execute
is going to be so much higher because I haven’t smashed myself a bunch of times along the way. I’ve built a big base of fitness
with low zones one and two. I’ve built a bunch of speed
with the high intensity. Now we dial into zone three, which is around the
race pace, and execute. So a few things, if this interests you and you want all of the workouts and the periodization that
is generating these results, because I’m doing the same
workouts as Team Trainiac, it’s what I use for my
training personally, go to teamtrainiac.com, try
out a 14-day free trial. Next thing, if you want
that fasted workout, go over to, it’s gonna be up there. And if you want some more information on heart rate training, go there. Alright, Gracie says
welcome home, Trainiacs. Later.

Comments 64

  • This is very useful and hopeful stats. Thanks. I've been doing this for one month. Previous i was still recovering from the a few operations. Do you keep doing it, but with less frequency, when getting ready for races? Thank you.

  • Wouldn't a cold shower be enough exposure? Btw wearing a Beanie while trying to expose to coldness is questionable.
    Love your videos

  • 80% of my training are in Zone 2 for the last 10 weeks… Recently, I noticed improvements because my heart rate is getting lower (5 to 7 b/min) for the same power on the bike and also, I speed up on the run to stay in my Z2… It works!!!

  • you've been looking strong lately, you're next workouts are gonna be lit.

  • PS zone 2 workouts are easier with Zwift, right?

  • I wish I could do more fasted workouts. But after fasting for 8 – 10 hours, if I do anything that raises my heart rate, I end up feeling really dizzy, lethargic, somewhat confused and sweaty. I've been to the doctors about it, and they basically said there's nothing wrong with me and that I need to eat more.

  • Great results, Taren. Hope my progress will be quite similar….
    Btw – great shirt!!!

  • Taren; shouldn't you also consider the wind resistance when comparing an indoor to an outdoor ride?

  • Bro!!!!! SO-MANY-QUESTIONS!!!!!!
    #1. Can I do some of my zone 2 on the bike and it still apply to my run?
    #2. What is the minimum time required to get an effective Z2 workout? I heard this works in runners @ volumes as low as 35 miles/week? (I have 3 young kids. Time is PRECIOUS!)
    #3. I roll with a fenix 3hr. should I get a chest strap to make sure my measures are accurate? I'll power walk at an 8 min/K then slow it down to a 9 and try jogging and my heart rate will shoot up!
    Seriously, so many more questions, but I'll limit it to these. This has been the longest 3 weeks of my life, doing this Z2!

  • Taren, I have been sticking with your zone 2 training since the January TT launch. It’s too soon to ascribe any improvements just yet, but I am going to give it a year. Not sure if comparing these two rides is the most convincing way to underline the point, given that your first ride was outdoors in late July. It might have been 25 degrees when you did your first ride, a lot warmer than your pain cave?

  • Well you just gave away the “secret”/“holy grail” of training! Coming from a pro.

  • Zone 1 and 2 works fo swimming too??

  • "a bit of cold exposure" = – xxxx °C

  • what % of max heart rate is your zone 2? In Norway the zone 2 is a greyzone. medium hard longrun etc. most off the top athletes train 70% in zone ONE, maybe 10% zone 2, the rest in the interval zones 3,4 and 5.
    Zone 2 is described as a zone that costs more than it gives. you dont get the benefits off zone 3 (where most off the intervals are done for some off Norways best athletes) and it is not easy enough to do for 3-4 hours without beeing totaly killing yourself. especially at high alltitude.

    but your zones are maybe someway diffrent?

    Norwegian top athletic zones (off max heart rate)
    Zone 1: 60-72%
    zone 2: 72-82
    zone 3: 82-87
    zone 4: 87-92
    zone 5: 92% and up

  • Mark Allen eat your heart out.

  • Want that T-Shirt!

  • In that speedo, there is a fine line between cold exposure and plain exposure…

  • Really nice work ! You put in a lot of quality hours training and it shows! I’m a huge fan of zone 2 training, but a better comparison would be the a street ride. Apples to apples type of comparison.

  • I am noticing HUGE improvements by just training Z2 for running; along with some Tempo racepace stuff… mind-blowing stuff

  • Would love to know the temperature. Was hotter outside than inside? Im heart rate is ALWAYS lower inside. Sound, wind, cars, all raise heart rate.

  • I came across this Maffetone method (a few years ago), while reading about Mark Allen advocating this style of training. If followed carefully it does work, however there is a caveat on a person's physiology as a responder or non responder to this type of exercise and percentage of achievement. Personally, I did had some success with this in base training, which flowed on to help in the build stage. On looking at your progress, well done, great improvement in aerobic capacity. However, i'm unsure you can just attribute the success to Zone 2 training only. I may be missing the point, but you would need to consider a number of differing factors; two very different rides, the environments, fuel/equipment and when the first ride was. I appreciate the difference in seasons and difficulty in replicating a similar ride, although would it be possible to find a suitable Zwift ride from a six months ago? Moreover, the first ride was over 23 weeks ago, so there would be a large offset of fitness improvement to consider from you structured training plan Aug 2018-Feb 2019 which may have had a percentage of zone in the bike part.

  • The polarized approach you describe I call "raise the floor/ raise the ceiling" — you are trying to build a bigger house by strengthening and raising the foundation and raising the ceiling with intensity. Stated another way – you need stronger foundation to build a higher ceiling.

    BTW – if Winnipeg has a Polar Bear Club, you should join them for a swim in the Red River (after it thaws of course)!

  • I want to put some of that shirt into practice myself.

  • Always enjoy watching your stuff and absolutely agree with the importance of Z2 work. But comparing just two workouts (one inside and one outside) isn’t too illustrative. Way too many variables going on. I think if you included a few z2 run workouts from last year and now in addition to the bikes, it could be much more useful. But in the end, I’m just glad you didn’t get pulled over on the way home from the pool 😅

  • Did you also change your weight? Because I think you looked leaner than the first exercise you did?

  • Hard to differentiate whether its z2 training or simply consistency throughout the year

  • VI was drastically different between workouts as well. Let's see some true comparisons.

  • How does that apply to shorter distance (sprint/ olympic) atheletes?

  • I think you should do the same ride over again when the temperature, wind conditions , your stress levels and CTL (chronic training load) are about the same otherwise you are comparing apples to oranges.

  • What was the temp for the rides

  • I'm seeing results. This morning I ran 4 miles a little under 10min/mile pace with an avg HR of 138. Last fall I was averaging around 155HR at the same pace.

  • Check your variability..(difference between Normalised and avg power). The variability is larger I think on the second which brings down HR too.

  • Wait till the Mounties comes and arrest for you being dressed like that in the car Taren 🤣 Ooooh, when TeamTrainiac merch going to be ready 😎

  • I have the same question as Nathan regarding minimum time for effective Z2 workout? Again, young kids and no time (only about 1-1.5 hrs)

  • I can't stand low hr workouts haha, but I know that the lower heart rate training is so important, so I push through and get them done!

  • There’s a quite a high variance in the cadence there too.

  • Why is this such big news……Phil Maffetone, Mark Allen’s coach has prescribed this training for over 20 years, look him up

  • Hi Taren, Just want to say that I was really sceptical about "going slower to get faster" (Dr Phil Maffetone method) BUT… since last year I've been following the workouts that you prescribed for me, and as a result I have seen my Sunday long run Z2 distances creeping up, my HiiT interval top speeds increasing, my bike FTP increasing AND my swim distances increasing. So THANKYOU
    PS. If you persist in sitting in your car sporting only a pair budgie smugglers… You WILL get arrested one day! 😆

  • I can attest to this as well. Forced myself to run and bike at MAF for the large majority of my workouts last spring. Running and cycling inside allows you to easily see the progress. Average run speeds improve at same heart rate, as does Power:HR ratio. Doesn’t happen overnight, but definitely comes with consistency. 👍 Not sure if you addressed your body weight last year vs this year? Could that have played into it as well?

  • It would be interesting to compare the exact same workout in 2 months.

  • Good stuff Taren. I’m Z2 training for years now.

  • You don't look "ridiculous;" you look cool…or, I should say, REALLY cold.

  • Taren your points are well taken and lots of info to state that Zone 2 MAF training is better in long run. BUT to really see the benefits I agree that you need to do both indoors on trainer. Either way it does not take a rocket science to see that to go faster you must do majority of training slower in bike and run. Cheers from Miami, FL.

  • Great video 😁 who doesn't love taking it easy every now and again!!

  • Can I get a Team Trainiac shirt?

  • One question: where can we get that shirt?

  • Yes, ok for heat when it comes to indoor training which you can regulate with an opened window and fans (and still it doesn't help). But what about wind resistance, activation of other muscle groups trying to balance the bike outdoors and other variables?

    These W/O's aren't comparable, my friend. It's like running on a track for 6 months in a row and suddenly start doing same thing outside. There will be a spike in the HR.

    Ideally, you need the duplicate the same WO you refer to to see how the data plays out.

  • That's impressive, 118 average bpm even Sanders should be jealous! My recent "above race pace" workout was – [email protected] on wattbike – HR 170 at the end of intervals (feels like 165 on the road, heat raises HR), recovery at 130-135… But, it is more interesting to see how speed/hr/power on race pace changed – who cares if you go faster at 100 bpm, also it's impossible to compare indoor and outdoor riding, unless you ride with powermeter in both cases and don't use trainer power (which can be way off) – and even then, in my case power on the road is much better.

  • You will see these results training at any given intensity long enough. 3 months of dedicated work in any zone (done properly) will yield adaptations, like a lower heart rate at whatever power you have been targeting. Oddly, the science says high intensity/low volume and low intensity/high volume give the same physiological adaptations (in a lab). But real world data from elite endurance athletes has historically demonstrated high volume is the best. I find it interesting you'd be doing so much zone 2 work 5 weeks out from a race.

  • Great results comparison thanks! I've neverly really done much Z1/Z2 but tried a Z2 today and it went quite smoothly. Excited to see the potential results in a few months.

  • Taren have you had a look at don Finks training books etc very good and focuses on zone training.

  • Hope you never have car accident… It would be even colder in your speedo 😂

  • Peeps just don't get it when you talk about the lower intensity training stuff. What they don't get, with the proper attention paid to the speed, or high intensity efforts, the lower intensity "base training" will continue to raise. Just as your result s show, last years lower intensity ride was not this years low intensity ride. The low will always continue to be higher with the proper high intensity work. Its the magic of this system. It a sneaky system with great results but just like your LI workouts are rising over time, the HI workouts need to rise as well. All multiples must increase or the sum will only stay the same or even falter. Yes, the LI/HI workouts are great, but they are not "no brainer" workouts, they do require, as in all things performance based, a strict adherence to progressive intensity work. Thanks for showing the numbers, the proof in the pudding!!!

  • Your general points are actually correct but the source of data is mistaken. I understand this has been discussed by other commenters, but it can also mean you are just fitter now than last year. Stuff like what you said are better demonstrated by randomized, controlled studies with as many subjects as possible and not by anecdotal scenarios such as this.

  • So your heart got bigger and stronger from loads of aerobic work pumping more oxygenated blood per beat (so your heart rate decreases) , in turn you will have increased and enlarged mitochondria making you able to produce more ATP from the increased oxygen giving you more energy or watts at a lower heart rate.– whats new?

  • Why the hell does he need to lose weight lol he’s skin and bone jones

  • You are really great content-creator! Been watching now many of your videos, and it is clear you are brilliant, you express your thinking/concepts really well, you have really great attitude, you got interesting leadership-approach into your videos, you clearly want to provide a lot to your followers etc. I am really thankful I found this channel of yours! Thanks!

  • Thanks for this. I "ran" an 8km last night, trying to keep my heart rate below 140. I had to walk every 200m or so because it kept going up. Even tho I was running at a super slow pace. Hearing stories like this helps me stay on track.

  • Hi there! First of all great videos! I'd like to ask since I can only do 3 rides a week, if I should go with one intervals and two zone 2 rides or two intervals and one zone 2 ride? Thanks and more success

  • Should have gone harder

  • did you get your couch to match your dogs fur color or camouflage?

  • whats your regular heart rate

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