We had a great interview with Don Hays talking about How to Improve your 5k.  Please follow this article for specifics on Heart Rate Zone Training!

A Guide to Finding the Right Zone
By Don Hays, Owner AKP Fitness

What is HR zone training?
HR zone training is a method used to calculate a desired intensity level
during various modes of fitness training. It provides a starting point and
allows an individualized approach to respiratory and metabolic training.
There are three zones.

How do we calculate each HR zone?
There is a general and specific formula.
Both are effective, but the latter of the two is preferred
By those seeking an individualized approach to training.

Heart rate zones are calculated as a percentage of MHR and represent
specific intensities.

Zone 1 (50-69%)
Low intensity used to build an aerobic base. Typically utilized by beginners
and during recovery-based fitness routines.
Zone 2 (70-84%)
Moderate intensity used to improve/develop work capacity. Typically
utilized by endurance athletes, fitness enthusiasts and weekend warriors.
Zone 3 (more than 85%)
Develops high-end work capacity, speed/power and explosiveness.
Typically used by strength and power athletes to enhance performance.

Which HR zone is the right zone?
An individual’s current fitness level will usually determine which zone is most
appropriate. HR zones are results-oriented and can be utilized many ways once
there is a basic understanding of them.

Resting Heart Rate (RHR)
Rest the index and middle fingers of the right hand on the left wrist, at the base
of the thumb. Apply light pressure until a pulse is felt. Once found, count each
beat for 15 seconds. Multiply the total count by 4 to get total beats per
minute (bpm). This is the RHR which indicates an individual’s current fitness
level. A high RHR (above 75 bpm) is indicative of a poor fitness level while a
lower RHR (les than 65 bpm) indicates an above average fitness level.

Max Heart Rate (MHR)
To find the MHR we use the formula 220–age = MHR.
Once we have our MHR, it is used to establish a target HR zone.

Target HR Zone
There are two formulas to find a desired target HR zone. One general and one
specific. The latter of the two is preferred and dependent upon the RHR.
It is called the Karvonen Method. Both are illustrated below.

Step 1. 220–age = MHR
Step 2. MHR (%) = target HR zone

Karvonen Method
Step 1. 220 –age –RHR = N
Step 2. N (%) = HR reserve
Step 3. HR reserve + RHR = Target HR

The general formula is an estimate, whereas the Karvonen Method is more accurate and most effective.
We’ll compare a professional athlete and obese college student to demonstrate both examples:
General and Karvonen Method.

As you can see, using the general formula provides identical intensities for both individuals.
Why would the same intensity level be used when there are differences in fitness levels?
However, the Karvonen Method places both individuals in separate HR zones, which enhances
effectiveness of their programs while meeting their needs and addressing current fitness levels.

Professional Athlete
20 years old
RHR 50

General Karvonen Method
Z1= 100 bpm Z1 = 125 bpm
Z2 = 140 bpm Z2 = 155 bpm
Z3 = 170 bpm Z3 = 177 bpm

Obese College Student
20 years old
RHR 85

General Karvonen Method
Z1 = 100 bpm Z1 = 142 bpm
Z2 = 140 bpm Z2 = 165 bpm
Z3 = 170 bpm Z3 = 183 bpm