Sunday, February 20, 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

The numbers, the numbers!

Okay so like I said before, I had my LT all done up. My what? Lactate Threshold test, which produces some interesting numbers which can help a person tailor their training. Again, I am only many years behind on the curve, but what the heck.

These numbers basically show at what point either when using power (ie watts) or heart rate, or even PRE (perceived rate of exertion) that the lactic acid produced in your body can no longer be dealt with and starts to accumulate. This is generally also called going anaerobic. This set of numbers is great if you follow training programs like Friel's or other zone based ones.

So what were my numbers and how will I use them? And what did they do to get them? Well to get them I road at a steady cadence on my bike (on a trainer of course)  and every 4 minutes or so the difficulty of the trainer was increased while I get pace. This means you work harder of course and gets that heart a pumping. Right before the increase in difficulty, my heart rate was taken, my power output was recorded and my finger was pricked to draw a small sample of blood from which was recorded the level of lactic acid in my body. I kept this up until I could no longer keep a steady pace. This took about 32 minutes or so.

So the numbers were like this:
As you can see right in the mid 160's heart rate or right after 240 watts, my lactic acid started to grow quicker than my body could deal with it, until I crashed eventually (by the way awesome workout). By 17 minutes things started to get rough.

What can I do with this? Well as I will be training with heart rate and not power, I will be able to design a plan (or have one designed for me) that will let me know how to best use my time. Instead of heading out on the bike for a long ride where I hammer it down, then cruise, then coast, then hammer, then kill a hill, then get killed by a hill (etc..) I will be able to say, "Let's keep the heart rate at 150 bpm for an hour," which of course will mean, go slower up hills and faster down quite often.  It will be interesting to see how this ends up. But needless to say I have been using it for my base training of running this winter and my speed has actually increased with less effort (though I am running a bit more so we will have to see how it continues).

Anyway, I am excited. It is an easy test to do, and can be done on the treadmill or on a bike. And it can be really useful information for those that don't have all the time in the world to train, as it has the ability to help you train more efficiently.