By Paul Robbins, Athletes' Performance
There’s a method of working out that improves strength, speed, and endurance. It will keep you interested, keep your workouts fun, and help you avoid burning out. It’s called interval training, and you’re probably already familiar with it, at least in its most basic form.
Performing intervals simply means training at varying intensities. Run fast, slow down, repeat. That’s interval training. miCoach uses a unique form of interval training in which you’ll vary the intensity of your activity according to four personalized training zones.
The miCoach training zones are based on heart rate to help you gauge your efforts. Each zone is designated by a color—Blue, Green, Yellow, and Red—and each color corresponds to an effort. miCoach personalizes your zones based on the data collected during your Assessment Workout.
miCoach uses different combinations of the four zones to create varied, complete, and personalized workouts. Here’s a look at the four zones:
The easiest of the miCoach zones, you’ll train here during early stages of your plan, as well as when you warm up, cool down, and dial back your training. Although it’s easy training, it’s extremely important. Training in this zone improves your aerobic base and helps your body recover. It also allows you to put forth a greater effort in the higher intensity zones to get more out of your training. Think of it as roughly a 3-4 level of effort on a scale of 1-10.
In this zone, you’ll burn calories, boost endurance, and build a greater cardiovascular capacity, or foundation, to push harder in later stages and more intense zones. It’s a sustainable medium effort, around a 5-7 effort level on a scale of 1-10. At the top of the Green Zone, you’ll transition to a harder effort that begins to draw on new energy systems to challenge your body in new ways.
At the top of the Green Zone and bottom of the Yellow Zone, your training will become more difficult. You can still push your body more at this point, but your body begins to rely more on your anaerobic energy system, meaning you’ll start breathing rapidly and you may start to feel your muscles burn. This offers your body remarkable benefits. Working at higher intensities in the Yellow Zone will improve your ability to run harder for longer. This is a hard effort level of about 7 or 8 out of 10.
This is where you’ll put forth your greatest effort. Training in the Red Zone develops strength, speed and power. But it’s stressful, so you can’t sustain this effort for long periods of time. Expect to put forth a level of effort of 8 or 9 out of 10. While it’s certainly possible to train at a higher intensity, the added stress on your body is not worth the extra effort.