Your Training Zones
VALR defines 5 training “zones” that measure the intensity of how hard you’re running. Using scientific principles, we organize your training around how much time you spend in each zone for each workout, each week, each month, and during your overall training plan. Then, during your run, VALR will guide you to speed up or slow down into the right zones to optimize the benefits of training.
Zone 1 is the easiest zone, and Zone 5 the hardest. Since you build your aerobic base by running primarily in Zones 1 and 2, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how often we coach you to slow down to these easier zones!
Zones correlate to different training intensities that affect the body in different ways, and not always based on what you feel in your muscles. Think of your body as having a series of gears. As the body shifts from one gear to another, it also shifts to different ways of fueling itself. VALR knows and uses these gear shifts to make your workouts more effective.
Some intensities are efficient for increasing endurance, some are efficient for building strength and speed, and some are useful for targeting specific race paces. VALR’s science makes sure that you never waste time exercising at the wrong intensity for your goal.
Your personalized zones are calculated just for you based on your own physiology, with incorporation of additional external data such as heart rate, age, and other individual characteristics. VALR updates its assessment of your customized zones automatically as it gets to know you better.
Zone 1 is good for burning fat, increasing your aerobic capacity, and recovering from hard workouts. It may involve walking on the flat or an incline, or light running. Don’t worry if you slip in and out of Zone 2. This is common for many runners. When rating zone performance with the VALR Success Score (VSS), we don’t penalize for planned Zone 1 time that is executed in Zone 2.
In Zone 2 you’re working hard to process oxygen but breathing normally and able to carry on a conversation. This is where major, sustainable performance improvements occur, and an elite endurance athlete will train here 80‐90% of the time. Its slow speed may be as surprising as its rewards.
While you’ll do some pace work in Zone 3, there are not significant improvements available here. You’ll work hard but not get that much faster. Unfortunately, this is where many people spend most of their time.
Zone 4 is where you feel the burn! Think high intensity interval training, hill training, or tempo runs. Work in this zone expands your endurance and ability to fuel your muscles, and also increases your base speed.
Zone 5: Speed. All out. In Zone 5, you’ll build strength and speed. Be judicious—too much work in this zone can compromise endurance and base speed.