Heart-Rate Zones

NB These zones are based on Functional Threshold Heart-Rate NOT Maximum Heart-Rate.

Functional Threshold Heart-Rate is your average heart-rate during a 20 minute hard effort.

Zone Name %FTHR Perceived Effort  Description
1 Recovery  <68 Very Easy  Easy spinning
2 Endurance 68-83 Easy to Moderate  All day pace
3 Tempo 83-94 Moderate to
Quite Hard
 Brisk ride
4 Threshold 94-105 Hard  1 hour time-trial pace.
6 to 20 minute efforts.
Requires recovery.
5 VO2 max 105-121  Very Hard  Short hill climbs
2 to 6 minute efforts.
A few days recovery between sessions.
6 Anaerobic Capacity Extremely Hard  High intensity efforts of under 2 minutes.
Based on Coggan and British Cycling

You will probably discover that the percentages of Heart-Rate vary slightly between coaches/authors but this is mostly in the zones for Endurance and Tempo with the Threshold usually at 94%.

There is also a growing realisation that basing your Zones on the average heart-rate that you can maintain for 20 to 60 minutes is better than your actual maximum heart-rate. Your Functional Threshold Heart-Rate can be observed during a long hard effort of 20 to 60 minutes. During a hard effort you will notice that your heart-rate increases then more -less stabilises at an effort at which you feel that if you go any harder you will have to ease off.  It’s also around the effort level where your legs start to hurt/ache.