Sunday Workout - Lactate Threshold Test
by Racer X Virtual Trainer
The off season is a great time to set your baselines and the Lactate Threshold test (LTHR) is one of the most important baselines to know. If you follow this website you know that we are big fans of the lactate threshold test and feel it is really the only way (other than a V02 max test and other expensive protocols) to set you heart rate training zones. The protocol we use to set heart rate training zones doesn't cost a single penny and is a pretty reliable prediction of your actual zones. And if you are even moderately serious about training you should set your heart rate training zones via a lactate threshold test. Using max heart rate formulas like 220-age are NOT recommended.
See this article for complete details on the LTHR test and why we believe it is a very important part of any training program.
For this workout, which will take just around 40 - 60 minutes to complete, choose either cycling, rowing, or running.
Lactate Threshold Heart Rate (LTHR) Test – This test is VERY uncomfortable and requires that you give 100% MAX effort for a 30-minute effort. Two VERY IMPORTANT things to remember about this test. First make sure you are completely warmed up before attempting the test, and second, if you are coming "straight from the couch," meaning you have not been training for an extended period of time, be very careful with this test. Do not over do it!
Running and Cycling Protocol
Start a 30-minute all-out effort. You should strive to hit an effort level that will allow you to complete the 30-minutes at as high an intensity level as possible for the entire test. You don’t want to fade towards the end of the test but you don’t want anything left when you are done. When you are 10-minutes into your 30-minute all-out effort, start your heart rate monitor recording function and stop it when you hit the 30-minute mark. Cool down for 5-minutes. The number you need from this test is the average heart rate for the last 20-minutes of your effort. This is your LTHR.
The protocol for obtaining your heart rate training zones for rowing is significantly different from running and cycling. For the rowing test, you will record 3 separate 8-minute tests with 10-minute rest periods in between efforts. Like the running and cycling test, you do not record the warm up. The rowing test is different because of the increased total muscle mass used, it's much higher than cycling or running so your body doesn't need such a strong stimulus to cause the maximal aerobic cardiac output that you are trying to achieve. We split it into 3, 8-minute sessions because even the fittest athlete has a hard time maintaining an all out effort on the rower for 20-minutes.
Your LTHR will be DIFFERENT for running, rowing, and cycling which means you will have to do this test three times if you want to use all three forms of cardio.
Now that you have your magic LTHR number, you need to calculate your five heart rate training zones:
Add one beat to each zone starting number beginning with zone 2 to get the correct zone range numbers, i.e. add one beat to 89% (high zone 2 number) of the LTHR to get the low heart rate number for zone 3.
Let’s say your average heart rate was 155 BPM from your heart rate monitor.
Zone 1 would be anything less than 129 BPM (155 x 0.83 = 129)
Zone 2 would be 130 to 138 BPM
Zone 3 would be 139 to 144 BPM
Zone 4 would be 145 to 155 BPM
Zone 5 is anything above 155 BPM
That's it for now, until next time, good luck with your training and remember, if you have a question, log on to the Virtual Trainer Expert Forum and have your question answered by a panel of experts. In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section. Your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness.