Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Post Lactate Threshold testing

Last Thursday I was over with +Matthew Bidwell of Fitness Analytics in Claregalway to have my Lactate Threshold Tested. I planned a really long and complicated post explaining what the process was but with HR being so individual I decided to just summarise it and show what it means to my training.

Ok, a little background first, originally I started running focused on pace, then after educating myself I quickly bought a HR (Polar RS200) and ran to zones. Not understanding what I was doing fully I got Lactate testing done in the Sports Lab at Trinity College Dublin 7/8 years ago and understood a bit more.

Since then I've been in and out of training with kids, life etc and defaulted back to HR (without any major plan) for the past few years.
With what I felt was a nice base fitness through regular training I took on Galway 70.3 (twice) and a couple of other races at which I seemed to do better on endurance based training.
Two years ago thanks to Fran's Plan I took a different approach to marathon training and realised I was probably limiting my progress through solo HR training. I found I was relatively fast for a fat, under trained aul fellow!!
So, after an interview, where Matt drilled into PB's paces and how I generally felt when running we started the test.
3 minutes at steadily increasing paces with a 1 minute pause when Matt would pierce my finger and run a blood sample for determining Blood Lactate levels (mmols)

Treadmill Test Results
Running Speed Pace HR @ 1min Intervals Blood Lactate (mmols)
Slow training pace
(questionable training benefit)
05:30 min/km
Threshold zone pace
04:11 min/km
Tempo zone pace
03:55 min/km
Interval zone pace
03:36 min/km

My cadence was pretty spot on at 88 (176 per minute) so all-round very happy with the results.

So summary, the speed at which my blood lactate first rises substantially above the base line values is my Lactate Threshold and this was established at a heart rate of 163bpm.

Flat out!! Not :)

So with the new information I took my stock HR values that were based on a combination of resting heart rate (RHR) and 220-age:

And edited them on my Polar V800 to properly represent my test results, in essence I was training at levels too low to see any decent fitness gain: 

Curiosity and a modicum of necessity led me back for re-testing to find that indeed I was training well but at a zone below the point at which it would become 'beneficial'.

So, to answer the important question posed by Maurice. Now my run workouts are governed by HR (as I generally did) but governed through using the correct zones (now that I can personalise the zones on my V800  ) Over time the pace will follow within those zones, pace should always be secondary IMO and I would advise the same ideal to anyone starting the run groups with me.

This week I've been smothered with a head cold / sinus thingy which always hits me with a change in the weather. Judging by my sleeping patterns taking Sudafed before bed is not a good idea.

This morning was the first morning my waking HR was below 60 (just) inspite of the threshold workout the evening before.

Date Run Distance Bike Distance Time Avg BPM AvgPace/Km KCal
13 Oct 2014
14 Oct 2014

14 Oct 2014
15 Oct 2014

If ever you wondered about the effect of fatigue on training, simply compare my recovery run from last Saturday:

11 Oct 2014 9.74 00:50:06 146 00:05:08 785

With Monday (+ 7 sec / km) and today (+19 sec / km) distance is exactly the same, same direction of hills etc and more-or-less same HR avg.

If I was running focused on pace I would be piling fatigue on top of that.

So there you have it a quick(ish) update with a background on the Lactate Testing and progression from here.

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