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"Maximizing Speed: 4 Benefits of Zone 2 Cardio Training"

For all athletes, understanding Zone 2 training is a fundamental aspect of developing cardiovascular fitness and improving endurance. But what really is Zone 2 training and how can you benefit from knowing your Zone 2 training level?

Group running together
Zone 2 Training

What are the basics of Zone 2 Cardio?

Zone 2 training refers to exercising at a moderate intensity where your heart rate is elevated but still sustainable for an extended period. It's often characterized as a comfortable pace where you can maintain a conversation without feeling excessively breathless. Zone 2 cardio training involves working out within a specific heart rate range, typically between 60% to 70% of your maximum heart rate. This zone corresponds to a moderate intensity level where you're exerting yourself enough to challenge your cardiovascular system but not pushing into higher intensity zones where fatigue sets in quickly. If you haven't heard of Dr. Peter Attia, check him out and get familiar with his work in longevity. Here, we'll explore the idea of Zone 2 cardio more.

What are the benefits of Zone 2 Training?

Model of heart anatomy
Cardiovascular = Heart + Lungs

1. Builds Endurance: Zone 2 training strengthens your aerobic system, allowing you to exercise for longer durations without burning out. As you progress, you'll find yourself pushing further in other training zones. Zone 2 training primarily targets your aerobic energy system, enhancing your body's ability to utilize oxygen efficiently during exercise. Over time, this leads to increased endurance and stamina.

Weight loss scale

2. Improves Fat Burning: At this moderate intensity, your body primarily uses fat for fuel, helping you manage weight and optimize performance. Exercising in Zone 2 encourages your body to rely on fat as a fuel source, making it an effective strategy for promoting fat loss and weight management.

3. Enhanced Recovery, Low Impact: Zone 2 workouts are less taxing on the body compared to high-intensity training, allowing for quicker recovery between sessions. This enables beginner athletes to build a consistent training routine without risking burnout or over training. Zone 2 workouts are gentle on your joints and muscles, making them ideal for injury prevention and recovery.

Mental Health

4. Mental Toughness: Don’t underestimate how hard it can be to do Zone 2 training.  Typically, we all workout in too high of an intensity, too frequently in our workouts, which will lead to injury.  Zone 2 training will require you to run slower, cycle slower, hike slower, etc. and often I hear my athletes tell me, “I feel like I’m walking!” Or “I’m moving like a snail!” Maintaining a steady pace in zone 2 training will require you to have the mental toughness and discipline to gain control of your body in ways you have never done so previously.  Zone 2 training will help build mental discipline, a crucial skill for all athletes.


While Zone 2 training is known for building endurance and improving fat burning, it might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about getting faster. This moderate-intensity exercise targets the aerobic energy system, improving the body's ability to efficiently use oxygen during workouts. By working out in a Zone 2 heart rate intensity, you can build a strong foundation for endurance, improve fat utilization, shorten recovery times, and even develop mental toughness – all of which contribute to becoming a faster and more efficient athlete.

You Deserve the Best, Expect the Best,

Dr. Pablo Estrada, DPT, OCS

Board Certified Specialist

Endurance Specialist

Physical Therapist

Dr. Pablo Estrada, DPT, OCS
Dr. Pablo Estrada, DPT, OCS

Dr. Estrada is an Endurance Specialist at EPRSG and has over 15+ years of experience. He has completed over 10+ half marathons, marathons, and triathlons. His experience ranges from swimming, running, cycling, mountain biking, and many other sports. He has coached many athletes ranging in ages from high school to senior athletes in their 90's.

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