Lactate Threshold Test

September 23, 2011

I’m about to start my next block of training so it’s time to do a new Lactate Threshold test. The last one I did was in December 2009 and I’m sure I’ve raised my LT since then.

How to do a Lactate Threshold test on a home trainer:

  • 15min warm-up
  • 10min hard
  • 20min harder
  • 10min warm-down
  • Average heart rate over the 20min section is a good estimate of LT

Here you can see that I warmed up steadily until I got to my old LT of 162bpm at 12 minutes and then slowly increased the intensity to a point where I felt it was the maximum I could sustain for the duration of the test (25:00-45:00). The last five minutes were tough but in the end I averaged 177bpm, 15 beats higher than my old level.

Joe Friel’s heart rate zones based on a LT of 177bpm:

  • Z1. 116-145 Recovery (60%-75%)
  • Z2. 146-158 Aerobic (76%-82%)
  • Z3. 159-165 Tempo (82%-85%)
  • Z4. 166-176 Subthreshold (86%-91%)
  • Z5a. 177-180 Superthreshold (92%-93%)
  • Z5b. 181-186 Aerobic Capacity (94%-96%)
  • Z5c. 187-193 Anaerobic Capacity (97%-100%)

My Garmin can only manage five heart rate zones so Z5 will be 177-193 (92%-100%).


Giant treadmill for bikes

January 6, 2011

This would surely make those long winter indoor sessions a lot more bareable, particularly with a projector and big screen in front.

Staying focused over winter

December 30, 2010

I’m so glad the snow has melted and we can get out into the lanes again. I was finding it all too easy to stay indoors and skip a scheduled training session when there was so much snow and ice around. My biggest motivator to either get out there or onto the indoor trainer is to look at the calendar. So far, I’m committing to three big rides and one fun one next year plus a week in southern Spain’s Sierra Nevada Mountains with Vamos Cycling to prepare for it all.

My key cycling events for 2011:

  • Feb: Training week
  • Apr: 260km Tour of Flanders Sportive
  • Apr: 165km Paris-Roubaix Challenge
  • Jun: 200km Dragon Ride
  • Jul: 180km Dunwich Dynamo

The overnight Dunwich Dynamo is obvious the fun ride. I’ve ridden the past four editions and wouldn’t miss it for the world. The Tour of Flanders Sportive and Paris-Roubaix Challenge are on successive weekends so I’d better be in great shape to do well in them. There is a shorter version of Flanders (150km) which includes most of the main route’s climbs and pavé sectors that I may opt for if my preparation hasn’t been ideal. Lastly, I’d like to include a few local sportives to break up the rest of the year. SWRC’s May Flyer looks promising, as does the Castle Ride 100 but after such an intense start to the year, it may be nice to relax over summer and just enjoy our weekly club rides in the North Downs.

It happens at least once a season, I get a sore throat in the week or two before a big event and I know a cold is on its way. Should I keep training when I’m sick?

There is a ton of opinion online but I tend to refer to my two unfailingly reliable fonts of knowledge, Friel’s The Cyclist’s Training Bible and Burke and Pavelka’s The Complete Book of Long-Distance Cycling. Both use the same rule of thumb: if it’s a head cold with no fever then at least start a training session and see how you feel. Keep the effort moderate and go home if you don’t feel up for it. Often, it will clear your head and do you good.

Of course, if you’ve got a fever or a chest cold then don’t even think about riding. Give it at least a day after the fever breaks before trying a short ride to see how you feel.

When to give it a go

  • Head congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Scratchy throat

When to give it a miss

  • Fever
  • Chest congestion
  • Hacking cough
  • Muscle aches
  • Loss of appetite

Image by Michael Verhoef used under licence

Cold baths after exercise

September 20, 2010

For a while now I’ve been taking a short cold bath after my rides and I think they’re making a difference in my recovery. My legs aren’t as sore the next day and the usual calf twitches have gone. I’m not going too hard core with bags of ice or anything, just sitting in the bath with my recovery shake and filling it with cold water until my legs are covered. I’m usually only in there for ten to fifteen minutes before having a nice warm shower and then sitting down for meal and to analyse the ride’s stats.

Image by Tom Fogg used under licence.

Fortunately I didn’t need to leave south east England (or even take time off work) to achieve this.

Instead, I simply totalled my weekly metres climbed and found I had ascended nearly 9,000 metres in March.

This makes a nice new additional target.

I am now aiming to not only ride at least 1,000 kilometres each month but to also keep my total climbing over 8,848 metres.

My first naked ride

March 31, 2007

No, not without clothes (too cold for that) but rather without technology and I was 13% faster over my North Downs route.

I was trying to find my fastest pace by paying close attention to how hard I was breathing and how my legs felt instead of how fast I was going and what my cadence was.

I got the idea from this week’s newsletter (no.288) from

When your breathing is steady and regular, say one in-breath for every two pedal rotations, it means you’re below or at your lactate threshold even though the effort feels hard. But if you start to pant, you’ve gone over the edge. Back off slightly to find your lactate threshold again.

Listen to your quads too. When the effort makes them merely uncomfortable, you’re fine. But if they start to burn and throb, back off.

It worked a treat. I felt great throughout the ride and I could concentrate a lot more on the road and improving my technique.

The best part was I had a lot more energy left for the last three hills of the ride between Underriver and West Kingsdown and I arrived back at Longfield station in time to catch the earlier train back to London.