I got an email yesterday regarding my most recent post on training with z3 to boost FTP. The writer wanted to know what I meant by zone 3. That's a good question because there are all sorts of training zone systems out there.
I almost always express the intensity of the cycling portions of my athletes' workouts in terms of power. But I realize that most readers of this blog don't have power meters (if you don't then you are missing out on the perhaps best thing to ever happen to bike training). That means training by heart rate which is much less precise but better than using a rating of perceived exertion (RPE). So below are the zones I use.
The power zones are from Allen and Coggan, Training and Racing With a Power Meter, and the heart rate zones are from my Training Bible books. Realize that they will not always produce the same RPE. For aerobically fit riders I typically find that HR zones are a bit more challenging (in terms of RPE) than power. In other wordes, riding in HR z3 will feel a bit more difficult than riding in power z3. That's not always the case, but very common. There's usually an overlap between the two. But all of this is highly dependent on the athlete and varies considerably from one to another.
Cycling Power zones as a percent of functional threshold power—FTP (Allen and Coggan)
Z1 <55% of FTP
Cycling HR Zones as a percent of anaerobic threshold—ATHR (Friel)
Z1 <80% of ATHR