Please find below the 8 Training Levels we use for categorising the intensity spectrum for running. You will find percentages of Threshold Pace (T-PACE), percentages of Functional Threshold Power (FTP), percentages of Lactate Threshold Heart Rate (LTHR), Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE), and a descriptive phrase of how each intensity should feel.
You will notice that there are 2 sub-levels within Levels 2 and 6. Whilst the adaptations you receive from an adjacent sub-level will be very similar, I believe they warrant being distinguishable from one another, due to the significant differences they typically produce in workout prescription. With regards to Level 6, I am very aware the terms 'VO2max' and 'Maximum Aerobic Power' are frequently used interchangeably in literature. They are simply convenient names that I have used to distinguish between two intensities that will illicit VO2max. I could equally have named them Aerobic Capacity-1 and Aerobic Capacity-2.
For those who use the metric of Power when running, please be aware that the correlation with your running pace will depend upon your Running Effectiveness (RE). Your RE is a measure of how effective you are at converting power to speed. This measure will not only vary between individuals due to different running mechanics, but also within the same individual in response to increasing fatigue, choice of footwear, terrain and wind conditions. As no strain gauges are currently used in producing measurements of running power, RE is also greatly dependent upon the particular device you are using. For this reason, I would recommend that power meter users either stick solely to running with power on a single meter, or use both pace and power, but accept that there will likely be frequent and variable discrepancies occurring between percentages of FTP and T-PACE.
Please note, the Pace/Power to Heart Rate relationship is also far from precise, and will often vary greatly. This occurs not only between individuals, but also from day to day within the same individual. It will also drift within the same particular training session. Although heart rate can be extremely useful for ensuring the intensity of an easy session remains low enough, it simply isn't practical to be used for higher intensity workouts. For any intensity above your Aerobic Threshold, it becomes quite problematic to use as a guide to monitor exertion. For intensities above your Anaerobic Threshold - it becomes completely redundant.
Pace/Power trumps Heart Rate in the majority of instances, but neither should ever be followed blindly. Metrics such as these should only be used as an approximate guide to inform your perceived exertion. How you are actually 'feeling' during any given workout, should always take precedence.
LEVEL 8 - SPRINT
LEVEL 7 - ANAEROBIC CAPACITY
LEVEL 6b - MAXIMUM AEROBIC POWER
LEVEL 6a - VO2MAX
'Very Hard to Extremely Hard'
LEVEL 5 - SUPER-THRESHOLD
'Hard to Very Hard'
LEVEL 4/5 - ANAEROBIC THRESHOLD
'Comfortably Hard to Hard'
LEVEL 4 - SUB-THRESHOLD
LEVEL 3 - TEMPO
'Moderate to Comfortably Hard'
LEVEL 2/3 - AEROBIC THRESHOLD
LEVEL 2b - STEADY ENDURANCE
'Easy to Moderate'
LEVEL 2a - ENDURANCE
LEVEL 1 - ACTIVE RECOVERY
To calculate your own specific Training Levels that are used within the THP system, and determine predicted race performances over various distances - use our Training Level Calculator