What are endurance zone really?

Hi. A bit frustrated here. Im a endurance guy and I cant get in a good flow with my training. My heartrate is always sneaking over into zone 3 when I do zone 2 power efforts. I have calculated my max hr. pretty well both running and cycling. My ftp tests are good quality i think and i have one number for indoors and one for outdoors (thats another story of mystery for me as its 30 watts lower indoor)

My question is:

Since my HR zone are almost always higher then my Power zone should I follow hr for best results?



I thought your HR zones would trail BEHIND your powerzones… :frowning:

Hi Ronny,

So do you calculate your heart rate zones based on your max heart rate or from your FTP test? Does your heart rate get up into zone 3 pretty quickly on a zone 2 effort or is this after a couple of hours of riding? Also having a different indoor to outdoor FTP is not uncommon. Did you have a one time 20 minute effort that was far greater than any other effort you have had that maybe inflating your FTP? Do you have similar efforts? Do you feel like you could hold that FTP for an hour?

The other thing you would want to look into is if you take in caffeine before or during your working out which would increase your heart rate. Also since we have been in summer with the heat and humidity riders heart rate tends to run higher.

Should you follow power or heart rate depends. You should also look at perceived exertion. If it feels like zone 2 most of the time you are good. You will have some heart rate deflection as the duration progresses. Ideally through training this deflection point moves further into a ride. If you have a hard training day following you will want to monitor your heart rate and not push the effort too much adding more fatigue. In our Sweet Spot 4 plan that is why we put zone 2 by heart rate. That way we can keep athletes from pushing it too hard and putting too much fatigue on the body for the harder efforts.

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Thanks for the reply. Zone 2 power feels tough from the start . Percieved as something i cant sustain for days as the book says. Ill try gong by hr next time and see what the power readings are. I guess i just need to bring it doen a notch to get in the correct zone. I calculate my max hr from shorter v02 max efforts on steep climbs. My threshold hr are the hr i keep on my 20 min max power.( Training peaks instructions.) I have been going through my efforts and it seems that when i get above powerzone 3 my heart rate drops into a lower zone. I.e . In powerzone 5 i do hr zone 4. My ftp test are rather well organized and conditions equal. No supplements, after rest week and fatigue is low.

Should I do a max heartrate test on my indoor bike and follow that?

I would use your average heart rate from your 20 minute power test as your threshold heart rate. And then calculate your heart rate zones based on threshold heart rate.

This is my problem. I just updated my threshold and changed from andy coggan 5 ( zone 1 is impossible for me to hold in Coggan) to Joe friel 7 (i mashed together sub and supra threshold to get 6 HR zones)

When i put in threshold it calculates zone 6 HR above my max HR i Coggan. Friel doesent.

So…Update. I have recently started to notice that i have poor quality on my workouts and that i couldnt achieve what I set out to do. A lot of aborted workouts and feeling fatigued on long rides. I never really have been good at noticing what my body told me as I have a strong head and can manage through some gnarly stuff if i want to. Getting the base plan was the thing that got me thinking why it was like this. Today I tried doing a workout based on w/kg and Heartrate like prescribed. I adjusted my tacx neo to be in the middle of the range of endurance 175 watts and not 195 watts as zwift sets it to (the very top of my endurance zone 2) And what a difference! My p ercieved excertion was totally different. Putting myself at 124 beats pr. minute (175 watts) vs staying at 131 (195 watts) was massively different. So lowering my wattage made many factors align correctly. Ill keep a sharp eye on my pulse and how I feel from now on. I feel like a chump for thinking “just follow the ftp zones” that is apparently only one of many factors for training and getting faster.


I don’t know if you are having this problem outdoors along with indoors. But sounds like you lowered you power targets on the last indoor ride and it made a big difference. Well that is good. I know some athletes will have a lower FTP indoors compared to outdoors and that typically heart rate will be higher indoors. So it is good to look at those targets and adjust accordingly. The targets we set on some of the workouts are recommend. However the targets are in a wide zone range. As long as you are in the zone you are completing the work i.e Sweet Spot target maybe set at 92% of FTP but the zone is anywhere between 84 - 97% of FTP.

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