On the journey to become the best athlete, How hard do you need to train? It is important to know if you are training in the right zones. It may look confusing but it is actually quite simple. If you have done some testing then you should know roughly where your threshold is for all 3 disciplines.
If I was coaching you, I would give you sessions based on the paces shown in the chart below. You may not always be able to hold the effort level, but it is a goal for you to aim for.
When starting out it can be useful to have numbers to go on, and they give me, as a coach, some useful data to look at after you have done a session. As you improve, you will get to know roughly how hard you are working, and you can focus on executing the interval more on feel. This is particularly the case if you are using heart rate as a guide, as we know that many factors can cause it to fluctuate.
I often find athletes worrying about what their heart rate is doing in a session. It is was lower than last time, or higher than last time. As long as you are performing the session to the best of your ability then don’t stress about it. Check-in with your breathing and don’t go chasing a higher heart rate if it feels right then it probably is!
While thinking, how hard do I need to train, the most important thing is to know how your effort “feels” for each particular intensity, so, as you do the session, make sure that you check in with what your breathing is like, and how you are feeling. You need to know that for racing, so you can focus and be present in the race. The other bonus of doing this is that if you don’t have power/heart rate on the day it doesn’t matter!