Field Tests to Set Your Swim, Bike and Run Training Zones

Perform Field Tests to Determine Training Zones

We use training intensity zones in our training plans in order to differentiate the levels of intensity that you should maintain during each part of a workout. Training at different levels of intensity stimulates different training responses and is an effective tool to maximize training time so that your training becomes more specific to your goal event while minimizing the risk of overtraining, burnout and/or injury.

Training intensity can be measured by a variety of methods including using rate of perceived effort (RPE) — i.e. how you “feel” — using a heart rate monitor, using pace (swim, run) or using a power meter (bike only).

You can do a field test to determine your training zones for swim, bike and run. If done correctly, the results should be a good approximation of what you would learn from a metabolic test in the lab.

stopwatch field test

Available Field Test Instruction Guides

The following field test instruction guides are available for download for use with our training plans:

lap swimmer

Swimming Field Test (All Levels)

This is a 1,000 meter (or yard) field test (download) that is performed continuously in the pool to set your pace at lactate threshold. If you cannot swim 1,000 meters (or yards) continuously, there are guidelines for shorter tests.

david glover at vineman full

Cycling Field Test (All Levels)

This is a 30-minute bike field test (download) to determine heart rate and/or power training zones that can be performed either outside on a relatively flat or slightly inclined hill or inside on a trainer.

Treadmill test

Running Field Test #1 (All Levels, Treadmill)

This is a 30-minute run field test (download) to determine heart rate and/or pace training zones that can be performed either outside on a track or inside on a treadmill.

stopwatch field test

Running Field Test #2 (Intermediate to Advance)

This is a 30-minute run field test (download) to determine heart rate and/or pace training zones that can be performed either outside on a track or inside on a treadmill.

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