Sunday, February 16, 2014

Lactate Threshold Testing Fit-Stop Lab

The other fun I had this week was LT testing-   What is Lactate Threshold? Simply  LT is the maximum steady state effort that can be maintained without lactate continually increasing. It represents a physiological phenomenon that is important for endurance performance.  Lactate threshold (LT) training is a popular method of improving high intensity endurance performance. While V02 Max may indicate an athlete's genetic potential and natural ability, their lactate threshold can be increased substantially with the right training program.Athletes often use their lactate threshold to determine how to train and what sort of a pace they can maintain during endurance sports. Because the lactate threshold can be increased greatly with training, many athletes and coaches have devised complicated training plans to increase this value.

Why did I do it?  Coach said- get testing done - ok.  
pricking my finger

I went to Fitstop lab in Carlsbad, who is a TCSD sponsor as well.  Ken Nicodemus runs this out of his garage, easy parking, easy to find and Ken is great to work with.  My test was not his standard testing- he generally likes to do 
 Cardio-Metabolic Exercise Profile You will be tested on a Treadmill or Bike. The test starts at a very easy level and increases intensity in 1-3 minute stages until you reach your maximum effort or
about  85-90% of your max or approximately the lactate threshold (sub-max). The actual exercise time during testing is usually between 10-25 minutes during which time you will be breathing through a mouthpiece (or mask) connected to a metabolic analyzer, while wearing a heart-rate monitor. The analyzer measures the volume as well as the % of carbon dioxide and oxygen from your expired air.  Prior to exercise testing weight and skin-fold body-fat measurements will also be determined.

Ken then creates an amazing report that will allow you and  your coach (if you have one) to dial in HR zones for the bike and the run. Scientific data.  The report is significant  and very useful.  I highly recommend any coached athlete to get this done!.  I would love to have this data on my athletes.  

Back to my test..... I had my pedals and he set me up on the Vergomenter (trainer) i had measure my set up from my bike so he adjusted the bike quickly and did not need further adjustments.  I warmed up 10 min ez spin  Then he set to 80 watts for 4 minutes, at the end of 4 min he asked for effort on scale 1-10 and pricked my finger (lactate testing) and then we went to 110, 140, 170, 200, 230, 260, 290  (I died here)  you keep going until you cannot keep cadence over 75.  My threshold power is around 235 to at 290 I was tapped out, HR 190 and I could not keep my cadence up for more than 2 minutes.  Every 4 min finger prick and he recorded the data.  What they are looking for is to see how much lactate acid you have in your blood and how long you can sustain the lactate as the % increases.

Coach read the report and says... What is DOES show is that your aerobic zones and your anaerobic zones are way too close...Which means we need some work at the harder efforts.  But then when we are NOT looking to stimulate those adaptations, we go easier than you are familiar with ...so easier on easy days, and HARDER on hard days.   Most triathletes train too hard on ez days....and too easy on hard days!  Which means little improvement. 

So my training is looking very different these days.  Hard is hard is right.... in fact I managed to puke on Saturday. 

Ken is very knowledgeable and encouraging...he was great when I was dying.  He is patient  and willing to explain in detail and layman's terms what the test is and what he is doing.  If you go be sure to read test directions...no caffeine 8 hours prior (ouch), semi fasted state etc...