When it comes to training, knowing when and how to modulate your efforts are key ingredients to getting the most out of your rides. Do you go hard every ride? Do you go the same pace every day?  How do you know how hard to push yourself or if you are pushing yourself hard enough?  By setting up what we like to call ‘Training Zones’, you will better understand how to pace yourself for intervals and endurance rides.  You’ll also learn how to challenge yourself even more, help improve your overall endurance, and reach your goals.


To determine training zones, you have a few options.  One option I highly recommend is through a 20 minute field test.  Doing a 20 minute field test is a great way to determine your training zones as it is free, it’s something you can repeat, and is real world data.


To do a field test, first you need a good warm up.interval training

Here’s what I recommend for a simple warm-up:


Start your warm-up 40 min before your field test.
Spin easy for 10 minutes to get the legs moving.

Then do: 2×10 min ON, 5 min OFF @ a moderately hard effort.
Spin for 5 min easy.


Start your 20 minute field test to determine your training zones:


Find an uninterrupted stretch of road, free from stop signs, lights or longer descents. This needs to be a repeatable effort as you may test throughout the season. Your goal is to put out the hardest effort you can for 20 minutes (like a time trial), but also to be smooth and consistent as you perform the effort. Don’t blow up in the first few minutes!  Keep track of your average power or heart rate for these 20 minutes.


Use the free training zones download to determine your new training zones.

For Heart Rate:

[purchase_link id=”662″ style=”button” color=”gray” text=”Heart Rate Training Zones” direct=”true”]


For Power:

[purchase_link id=”666″ style=”button” color=”gray” text=”Power Training Zones” direct=”true”]



Another great resource for understanding your training zones – especially if you use a power meter, is the book, “Training and Racing with a Power Meter” by Hunter Allen and Andrew Coggan, PhD.


Now that you have your training zones – read “Boost Your Aerobic Fitness With a Simple Interval Workout.”


Or if you would like feedback or help with your training, learn about our coaching services or training plans! Feel free to email me directly too: melissa@potentialenergytraining.com.


Thanks for reading and good luck!



About Melissa Ross:

melissaMelissa Ross is Co-Founder and Cycling Coach of Potential Energy Training and Nutrition. Melissa’s 11+years in the sport as an athlete and 5 years as a coach has taken her all over the world from touring Italy, racing across Europe and the US as a professional road cyclist, to becoming a pro mountain biker, exploring the trails across Arizona and even recently finishing 13th in the Absa Cape Epic in South Africa and making the podium 2 years in a row in the Leadville Trail 100! Melissa has an incredible desire to help other people reach their full potential and bring the passion of having a healthy lifestyle into their lives.

Connect with Melissa: Melissa@potentialenergytraining.com

How to Determine your Training Zones