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Is Cardio with a High Heart Rate Effective?

You've likely heard me talk about heart rate zones when it comes to cardio. You can familiarize yourself with heart rate zones here, but just know there are 5 zones. Zone 1 is the lowest heart zone and Zone 5 his the highest heart rate zone (think maximal effort).

Whether you're running, cycling, or performing another form of cardio, it's common to hop right in and end up in zones 3-4 for the majority of your run or ride.

Now, there isn't anything particularly wrong about this as long as it's programmed.

Zone 4 is up there. You're pushing and breathing heavy at this level. Again, there's nothing wrong with this, but what if I told you you will build your cardiovascular capacity and endurance by training primarily in Zone 2?

Zone 2 is where you'll find endurance athletes train for their 5Ks-Ultras (hello, long runs). Zone 2 is an important one because it allows you to develop aerobically and build your aerobic base. Meaning, the more you build your base, the better your Zones 3+ will feel.

Where you'll jump to heart rate zones 3-4 is when intervals, tempo runs, and hill sprints are programmed.

Next time you're hopping on your bike for a quick spin or suiting up for a jog, keep this in mind.

Go slow to go fast.

Zone 2 is where the party's at!


Katharine Moustakes
Hey, friend!

I'm Katharine.

I'm a personal trainer, running coaching, and nutrition coach who's stoked about lifting, the outdoors, summit snacks, and my dog.


I understand that fitness is not your whole life. Fitness is a PART of your life. I approach training in a way that adds value to your life and longevity, so you can enjoy being active whether you're romping around in the mountains, playing with your kids, or signing up for your first 10K race.

I'm here to meet you where you are, so you can train safely and effectively, and gain strength and confidence both in the gym and on the trails.

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