What is my HR zone 2?

Seems like an easy question but strava, intervals.icu and wahoo all put my z2 at a different range (109-144, 134-148, 131-139 respectively )

Often calculated as a percentage your maximal heart rate on the bike you ride. Unless you’ve done a test to determine your maximal heart, then you are just randomly guessing.

They all use the same max (and resting heart rate) input, strava has the upper limit at 78%, intervals.icu at 80% and wahoo at 75%

Pick one and go with it. FWIW I am using 68-78% of my max HR but that is probably a different number again :joy:

That’s an incredibly narrow z2.

The thing about z2 is that there are a dozen definitions and no one ever says what scale they’re using when they say zone 2.

You’re likely looking for your easy/endurance effort range. So look at your HR near the end of Pettit or a similar endurance power zone workout. Add say ten beats either side for your aerobic Hr range.

What do you need HR zones for? Are you just curious? Or do you train by them in some form?
Personally, I use them for pacing outdoor endurance rides. I try to keep them very mellow (IF 0.61–0.65 I’d say). For a broad range of power, my heart rate remains very stable, 118–130 bpm. But if I push beyond about 133 bpm, my heart rate increases sharply with power. (Think of an S-curve where you go from the flat part on the left to the steep part.)

So I try to stay below 133 bpm even though my Z2 extends further up. That makes pacing easier. Oh, and if there are times when I am in HR Z1, so what :slight_smile:

yes, trying to use them to pace my z2 rides since it’s a little bit easier to track than power


If you’re saying that because you don’t have a PM, fair enough. If you’re saying that because your PM read outs are very spiky then it’s definitely worth spending a few rides working on consistent power output and playing with 3s, 5s, 10s power readings.

Yesterdays ride was an easy ride by feel. No push of intensity. Heart rate for 7 minutes of a 2.25 hour ride was in Z2 which for me is over 126. The rest was all z1. The ride though was .74 if.

I don’t think for me following heart rate really gets the right effort. The above ride was heart rate wise very easy as average heart rate was 118.

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I set mine when I did a fascat plan and have left them: Setting Up Training Zones – FasCat Coaching

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I tried but on poor roads or brick roads it can be uncredibly hard. I can use them for hard intervals though

There are all sorts of ways to ballpark your Z2 HR.

  1. Steven Seiler says 65-70% of HR max. (About 64-66% 120-125bpm works well for me.)

  2. Find all your power zones, and then do a 10 minute interval in the middle of your zone 2. Note average HR.

  3. Do the talk test.

  4. Experiment with dfa alpha1 and try and determine the aerobic threshold. This is controversial but it worked for me. It did seem to show me that my Z2 varies with fatigue. Very fresh I can do 130bpm. Fatigued, staying under 125bpm works better.

I’d probably do 1, 2, & 3 and see how they correlate.

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That’s where he says to do your endurance rides. Zone 2 is typically more like 65-80% of maxHR, but it depends on how you want to define that endurance zone? Below LT1? Something else? It depends!

The point Seiler (et al) make with that is that you don’t have to (and should not) do all your endurance rides in high zone 2 like many people do.


The best way I heard to measure Z2 is; Imagine you’re on the phone with someone. You can hold a comfortable conversation, but they’re aware that you’re doing something while talking to them. I did a 4 hour Z2 ride today and I keep an eye on HR, but the temp went from 65f to 90f and of course there’s always HR creep. So while, for the most part I stay within my HR zone, the talk test is my true measure. Hope this helps!

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I don‘t think it is that simple. On yesterday‘s endurance ride I was on my road bike (which, unlike my mountain bike, does have a power meter), and pacing endurance rides by heart rate is in many situations easier.

Just to give one example: it was quite windy yesterday (my preferred endurance routes are along the coast, so I have to contend with winds), and my power would sometimes fluctuate wildly. Rather than adjusting my power, I‘d keep my cadence and speed relatively steady.

This is indeed a problem: the relationship between effort and heart rate depends on a whole host of variables, including temperature and humidity. But to me this can be an advantage of pacing by heart rate: if on a hot and humid day I see that my heart rate spike unexpectedly early, I lower my power targets. IMHO the point of an outdoor endurance ride is to take it easy. Indoors the situation is slightly different, because it is harder (mentally and comfort-wise) to spend long times on the trainer. So you increase intensity to compensate.

I don‘t think this is specific to Seiler to be honest, it seems to be consensus amongst the coaches I have heard on the topic (e. g. Frank from FasCat Coaching). High zone 2 is also dangerous in that it is soooo easy and tempting to up your power and do Z3 rather than Z2. If I do 60–65 % FTP I have plenty of margin to Z3. If I am at the top of Z3, it is much easier to exceed your power targets for significant stretches of your workout.

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“et al” literally means “and others”… Seiler was the name that was invoked. Yes, it is generally widely agreed upon by many coaches, including me, that most endurance riding should be low-to-mid zone 2, but there is a place for high zone 2 as part of a structured progression.

“et al.” is usually used to denote a group of co-authors or, more generally, of like-minded people (here, people who consider themselves as part of the polarized community). My point was that this is not just limited to proponents of a polarized approach, but much more general. That‘s all.

I ride Z2 rides mostly by hr. A cap of 75% of max hr for hills and aim for 65-70% avg for the whole ride works for me.

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Well that’s because HR responds slower, not because you’re pacing better by using HR.

I like to say that there’s a difference between simple and easy. It is as simple as going out and working on pacing by power, but it’s not a five minute job. It takes patience and experience.

No, it is not just that. Like I wrote above, other factors like weather and humidity can have a significant influence on what I think should be a ride that does not incur unnecessary fatigue. Riding in the hot, humid Japanese summer even at moderate power can do that.

I can pace by power just fine. I practice that specifically, e. g. doing a climb at sweet spot or at threshold. I have also paced endurance rides by power, but I just find it much more enjoyable (outdoors!) to take it easier and pace by heart rate. When pacing my power I’d usually aim for upper Z2 and am meticulously checking my power. Those rides no longer feel like a reward. Indoor endurance rides are different, though.