I highly doubt that anyone is seriously intersted in this, but I am taking a really brave step and sharing my first Lactate Threshold test (since my rowing days) with you. But I thought that it was about time I had a check to see how unfit I am and how I can turn that into “fitter”
So I made an appointment with some sports physiologists in Zurich, and they stuck me on a treadmill for a step test. The test evaluates the amount of lactate acid you produce while you are running at different intensities. At the beginning of the test you start off with relatively little lactic acid in your blood, then that will increase accordingly with your heart rate as you run faster and faster until you reach your maximum heartrate.
A Perfect Test
A perfect test would show an athlete maintaining a low level of lactic acid during the first few steps, indicating that they are well trained and they can withstand the increased effort without producing inhibilitating lactic acid. The athlete will however, reach a stage where the lactic acid begins to `spike` and this indicates the athlete is nearing their lactate threshold. In this range the athlete is still aerobic, although working hard this intensity can be maintained for a relatively long duration, think a marathon. But once you go above that threshold you are in trouble. Your body begins to produce too much lactic acid in the muscles and oxygen is not transported as efficiently around the muscles and cardio vascular system – you enter an anaerobic phase and this cannot be maintained for long.
Why do this?
So. My idea is to be able to identify what speed I can maintain at lactate threshold and what heart rate is associated with that also. So when I am training I can more specifically identify what my zones are and get a bit more specific to pushing that threshold out so I can operate at a high energy output for even longer. Just like the dashboard of a car, you can see the revs, how much petrol you need, how fast you are going etc.
I learned that at my anaerobic or lactate threshold I am capable of running a marathon in under 2.43.55 minutes. This is actually what I had been thinking I could acheive. I can motor along at 14.36km per hour at a heartrate of 171 without getting into too much trouble in a marathon (according to Mr Machine)
So. Is this a good or a bad thing? We will just have to wait and see.
How much fade is there between a one off 2.43 marathon and a marathon at the end of a 3.8km swim and a 180km bike ride? That remains to be seen.