RPE - Riding On Feel

Rate of perceived exertion (RPE) measures the intensity of an exercise. RPE is a subjective rating based on how you feel physically and mentally during training, and is useful especially when you don't have a power meter or heart rate monitor to gauge your effort.

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RPE 1-2 Active Recovery

Easy spin or light pressure on the pedals, minimal sensation of leg effort or fatigue. This is known as Zone 1 training where average power is below 55% of FTP and heart rate is below 68% of LTHR.

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RPE 2-3 Endurance

All day effort, breathing is more regular than during an easy ride, but you are still able to hold a continuous conversation. This is known as Zone 2 training where the target average power is between 56%-75% of FTP and heart rate is between 69%-83% of LTHR.

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RPE 3-4 Tempo

A "spirited" group ride, breathing is deeper and more rhythmic than during an endurance ride, conversation may be somewhat challenging, This is known as Zone 3 training where the target average power is between 76%-90% of FTP and heart rate is between 84%-94% of LTHR.

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RPE 4-5 Lactate Threshold

Race pace, continuous sensation of moderate or even greater leg fatigue, deep and shortness of breathe, and difficult to hold a conversation. This is known as Zone 4 training where the target average power is between 91%-105% of FTP and heart rate above 95% of LTHR.

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RPE 6-7 Vo2max

Vigorous efforts lasting between 3 to 8 minutes with strong to severe sensations of leg effort or fatigue, breathing is ragged and conversation is short. This is known as Zone 5 training where the target average power is between 106%-120% of FTP and heart rate above 100% of LTHR.

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RPE >7 Anaerobic Capacity

Very hard and short efforts between 30 seconds to 3 minutes, with severe sensation of leg fatigue, can barely breath and able to only speak a few words. This is known as Zone 6 training where the target average power is between 121%-150% of FTP and heart rate is generally not use as a guide.


Tip: don’t look at your heart rate while doing these efforts, all you need to do is to commit to the maximum effort for the required duration.

RPE credit/sourced: Training and Racing with a Power Meter, Hunter Allen and Andrew Coggan

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That is it, thank you for reading.


Hope you found it to be a useful resource. If you need some guidance, need assistance to prepare for an event, want to commit to weeks or months of training or have any questions then the easiest way to get in touch is by using this contact form or this email address: rideandraceinfo@gmail.com


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