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Zone 2 Simplified: 4 Steps to Easy Endurance

It’s been a while since we’ve talked about endurance (or anything for that matter) here on the blog, so let’s jump back in with a quick recap of zone 2, steady state training.

Zone 2 is simply a form of low-intensity training aimed at building your aerobic base. 

It’s a slow, low-stress form of training that trains your body to become more efficient at using oxygen and fat as a fuel. It nicely complements strength and mobility work and can support recovery, athletic performance and general wellbeing too. 

I put together an in depth guide to Zone 2 training a while back that you’re more than welcome to check out, but I’ve also broken things down into a few simple steps below. 

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Step 1: Choose your adventure

Start by picking an activity you enjoy and can perform continuously at a steady pace. 

Walking, hiking, running, walk/running and cycling all work well for zone 2 training and are easy to track your progress with. 

Jump rope and rope flow are also great and have some potential transfer over to other sports and physical activities. 

Some people do okay with swimming and rowing, but they may not work for everyone as technique and power can be limiting factors.  

Step 2: Start slow

Start with a 20-30 minute session, once or twice a week (including a gentle warmup up and cool-down of 5-15 mins).

If you already have some experience with your chosen activity, you’re likely going to be performing it at a slower pace than you’re used to.

This is pace that:

  • Feels so slow that you could almost go all day. 
  • Allows you to maintain a casual conversation without huffing and puffing.
  • Allows you to maintain easy nasal breathing, in and out through the nose.
  • Doesn’t cause soreness or require days to recover after your session.

If you have a heart rate monitor, you can use the MAF formula to estimate target training heart rate in beats per minute (BPM). 

This is 180 – your age 

Then adjusted for other factors such as health status and how long you’ve been training. I’ve included a handy calculator below so you can plug in your numbers and get going. 

Step 3: Build Gradually

Over weeks or months, gradually add to the duration of your training sessions a few minutes at a time. 

Half an hour to an hour is a great range to aim for, and longer if you really enjoy it and feel the benefit.

You can also increase the frequency of your training up to 3-4 sessions a week if you like, but you don’t have to. Many people make great progress with just 1-2 sessions a week mixed in with other activities. 

Remember:

Slow and steady. 

Step 4: Be patient & enjoy

Low intensity, zone 2 training can feel frustratingly slow – particularly if you’re used to pushing yourself.

You may feel like you’re not making progress, but it’s worth sticking with for at least a few months. 

You may need to walk before you can run, but walking is great. Endeavour to embrace it, let the ego go and trust the process. 

Over time, you’ll likely notice that you’re steadily getting faster while working at the same heart rate.

Congratulations – you’re now becoming a more efficient athlete, and this will trickle into everyday activities and sports or competitions.

When I’ve done blocks of zone 2 training in the past, I’ve also observed reduction in my resting heart rate and an increase in HRV – both good signs of improved general wellbeing, which is ideal.  

Over to You!

Get out there, enjoy yourself and be patient 

If you have any questions, feel free to check out my other videos on endurance and zone 2, and subscribe for more.

Any questions, let me know down below! And if you have any bonus tips that you’d like to share with others, you can hit me up in the comments, or head over to our facebook group. Happy flowing!

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Luke Jones

Luke Jones

Luke Jones is a Movement Coach, Wellness Enthusiast, Online Content Creator, and Founder of HERO Movement. Through articles, videos, courses, and online coaching, his big goal is to help people discover freedom of movement and create lives filled with well-being & adventure.

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