You can use as many intensity measures as you like to help you train at the appropriate level. There is no wrong or right.
Some people like to keep it simple and just train by feel, known also as Rate of Perceived Exertion or RPE.
Others like to use every measure possible, so that they can train more precisely and then analyse their training data. At MyProCoach we use a system of Five Training Zones, which enables you to use one or all of the intensity measures mentioned in this article.
It's a good idea to use 2-3 different measures for each discipline, as none are perfect on their own. For example, threshold heart rate is a great measure for steady-state workouts, but reacts too slowly during high-intensity interval sessions. Pace, power and RPE are the better measures for interval workouts.
If you have the option to use several intensity measures, this is the order in which you should prioritise them:
- Power output (for all workouts)
- Bike Threshold Heart Rate (steady-state when power not available)
- RPE (interval when power not available)
- Pace (speed work)
- Running Threshold Heart rate (steady-state)
- RPE (long aerobic endurance runs)
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