The zones are the building blocks for all cardio workouts with miCoach. Each zone represents a level of effort: Blue is easy, Green is medium, Yellow is hard, Red is maximal. During workouts, simply follow the coaching, such as “Speed up to Green Zone.”
You know Green is medium effort, but how does miCoach know you’re exercising at your medium effort? In order to coach you, miCoach either measures how fast you’re going (pace) or how fast your heart is beating (heart rate). No matter which coaching method you choose (they’re both great options!), your experience with miCoach and your results should be the same.
So how do you choose? Here’s a simple comparison of the two coaching methods.
If you choose Heart Rate coaching, your zones will be expressed in heart rate ranges that are right for your body. Since your heart rate reflects how hard you’re working, this is a personal way to measure fitness. It’s versatile, too. Use Heart Rate coaching while running, biking, skating, or on cardio machines, for example.
- Compatibility: miCoach Pacer (with Heart Rate Monitor)
- How it works: miCoach listens to your heart—reading your heart rate from the Heart Rate Monitor—and then tells you when to speed up or slow down to stay within the correct zone.
- Example: Your Blue Zone could be 128-145 beats per minute (BPM). If miCoach observes your heart rate is beating faster than 145, it would tell you to slow down to keep you in the zone.
- Getting started: miCoach will provide default heart rate zones, but it’s best to start with an Assessment Workout. The data shows how your heart responds to various levels of effort (everyone’s heart responds to exercise differently), and is used to personalize your zones.
- Other benefits: Heart Rate coaching takes into account how you’re feeling each day. If you feel stressed or tired, your heart beats a little faster. As a result, you can run a little slower than usual while remaining in the zone. This helps prevent overtraining on days when you could use a break. Conversely, if you feel great, your heart rate will remain lower and you’ll be able to go faster while staying in the zone. Heart Rate also accounts for challenging terrain. If it’s hilly, for instance, you won’t need to run as fast to remain in the zone.
- Seeing results: Check your charts to see how your average speed per zone increases as your fitness improves. For instance, you may simply walk to stay in the Blue Zone at first, but as your fitness improves you may find that you’re able to jog in the Blue Zone.
If you choose to be coached by Pace, your zones will be expressed in pace ranges that reflect how fast you run. Pace coaching is a favorite among runners who like racing and keeping track of their times, since pace indicates how many minutes it takes to complete one mile (min/mi) or one kilometer (min/km). If you prefer to use speed as a unit, miCoach will show how far you go in one hour (miles per hour (mph) or kilometers per hour (km/h)). miCoach lets you pick your preferred unit in Settings. This has no impact on the coaching.
- Compatibility: miCoach Pacer (with Stride Sensor), miCoach Mobile (with GPS)
- How it works: miCoach collects your pace and tells you when to speed up or slow down. The coaching reacts to paces reported by your Stride Sensor (if you use miCoach Pacer) or GPS (if you use miCoach Mobile). Pace coaching requires that you run on a relatively flat surface—the pace zones have been designed with this in mind.
- Example: Your Blue Zone could be 10:00-12:30 min/mi (or 6:13-7:46 min/km). If you prefer speed units, your Blue Zone could be 3.0-5.0 mph (or 4.8-8.1 km/h). If miCoach observes you’re running slower than 3.0 mph, it would tell you to speed up.
- Getting started: miCoach will provide default pace zones, but it’s best to start with an Assessment Workout. The data shows how your pace changes at various levels of effort, which is used to personalize your zones.
- Other benefits: By looking at your miCoach stats, you’ll soon learn what different paces feel like. If you like competing in races, having a sense of the numbers can help you gauge your race times. You’ll also learn how to stay within the zones while fine-tuning your speed depending on the terrain and how you feel that day.
- See results: As you improve, you’ll be able to run at a faster pace with the same effort. Keep your pace zones up to date by retaking the Assessment Workout or adjusting your zones in Settings so that they’re personalized for your current fitness level. This will help you keep improving.
miCoach recommends starting with Heart Rate coaching if you use miCoach Pacer and Pace coaching if you use miCoach Mobile. Regardless of which method you choose, the training plans, workouts (including the Assessment Workout) and audible coaching remain the same. So you can’t go wrong. Try a method and see how it works for you. You can change coaching methods in Settings at any time—even in the middle of a plan—and you’ll stay on track to achieve your goals.
Still need help choosing? Visit the miCoach Forum to see which coaching method other community members prefer.