How Self-Coached Athletes Can Use Lactate Testing To Work Smarter

The Lactate Thread on Twitter is my most widely shared content of 2022.

Keeping the ball rolling, I pulled together a presentation for you.

The theme of the presentation is faster gains from working smarter.

Working smarter gives you more energy…

  • to use for your higher intensity sessions
  • to recover faster
  • to put towards the rest of your program

There are four questions I address:

  1. What’s too easy?
  2. What’s too hard?
  3. Where’s my Easy Zone, 1?
  4. Where’s my Steady Zone, 2?


[1:25] Showing lactate turn point on a sample test

[3:08] Secondary Goals

[4:25] Requirements

EC Lab Protocols Document, referenced in video

[5:45] Before Starting – importance of hygiene and baseline <=1.5 mmol

[7:26] Self-Testing Protocol – submax testing (longer & smaller steps)

[9:19] Getting Great Data

[11:05] Bike Case Study

[14:58] Run Case Study & Considerations for Fasted Testing


Remember, lactate is one of several tools to guide smart training.

Smart Training is:

  • Approximately correct – precision is an illusion
  • Learning from inevitable errors – change slowly
  • Persisting over time – consistency as protocol

I hope this presentation helps you to iterate towards better.


Additional Resources:

  1. The Serious Athlete’s Guide to Building A Training Week
  2. The Ambitious Athlete’s Guide to Allocating Intensity
  3. Four Questions To Help Self-Coached Athletes Achieve Their Best Season Ever

Sunday Summary 21 August 2022

Top Threads

  1. Developing Teen Running Talent
    1. Workout idea from Rich
  2. Fitness enabling a feeling of freedom
  3. Burning lactate strips in an attempt to prove I can go harder
  4. Johan’s advice to stay focused on what makes you better
  5. A benefit of developing low-end aerobic range

Workouts & Working Out

High-Performance Habits

Sunday Summary 19 June 2022

Top Five Threads

  1. The 1st step is EASY
  2. Bike Session (30/30s and Power Singles)
  3. When you feel you are behind financially
  4. Give your Self something useful to Prove Right
  5. I’m back on Strava // Post_COVID week summary

High Performance Habits

Workouts & Working Out

Late Season Peaking

A favorite shot – spend time in places with natural energy!

Throwing it back to the ride across across the US, again.

Early summer…

  • the GIRO just ended…
  • the Tour is coming up…
  • it’s lush and green outside…
  • the Sub 7/Sub 8 project just finished…
  • you’ve been base training like a champ…
  • you’re reading NVDP’s manifesto

It’s natural to want to smash yourself.


Rear View of Clas from SwimRun training mentioned last week

I wrote this in Memphis, the ride into town was the greatest tailwind, and scariest bridge crossing of my life!

What I call “tempo” is now known as the Heavy Domain.

The names have changed, the training errors remain.

Then, and now, athletes hinder their development by capping their aerobic gains.

++

I’ll share the “20K Track Workout” (mentioned below) next Saturday – it’s a great set that will surface useful data for you, and your athletes.

Big Picture => my advice (then and now)… repeat the week, for a while… only then will we have the basis for a conversation.


Old school navigation – we avoided cities as much as possible

gRAAM – Trans USA Day Forty-Seven
memphis, tennessee

Reviewed my track sessions I appear to be well ahead of last year. This is pretty exciting because I did ZERO track work over the winter.

Anyhow, Scott and I have another moderate session planned for next week and then we’ll do my standard (20K) “track” workout to see where I am at. That will be about a week and a half out from Triple T. Should be a good indicator for me.

Baron says that there’s no way that I am ten pounds over race weight. He thinks it’s more like six.

We said good-bye to Barry this morning. Over the next couple of days, I expect that he’ll pull his thoughts together on the experience for InsideTri.Com – should make interesting reading. We threw everything we could at him and he just kept bouncing back. Fourteen days of monster training is really the furthest that I’d recommend anyone goes so it was probably for the best that he headed back to Oregon – even if it would have been nice to have him along.

Season Pacing & Race Preparation

Some of you might be getting fired up reading about these entries. I’d urge caution on trying to mimic the training that the Baron and I are laying down. To be honest, we are a little surprised ourselves that we are surviving. Yesterday, I wrote this to one of my crew that frequently does big day training and is aiming for a late season peak.

Patience — it’s a long season so don’t extend yourself “way out” in May. Keep it rolling, keep it fun, keep it large but… keep it reasonable (for us at least).

Tempo — aerobic tempo is a waste of time for you, me and everyone. When you leave your steady zone you need a reason to be out of there. Big Gear, Strength Hills, Race, TT — probably the only reason for Tempo bike and run work. Otherwise you are having fun going fast but simply making yourself more tired — not more fit.

Weeks — No more than 12-14 “on days” without a 3-5 day recovery cycle. Even with that you should have 2-3 easy days in the on-cycle. Otherwise you won’t get the recovery that you need to bounce back from the outstanding training you are laying down.

Also yesterday, I sat down with Steve (our Little Rock host) and talked through my thoughts on the training that he needed for his first Half IM at the end of the summer. Key points that might be relevant to you:

Basic Week – build a basic week that is “doable” within your life and agreeable to your wife (husband).

Consistency – repeat the basic week for 15 weeks.

Key Workouts – plan a sane progression of volume for your key sessions.

Intensity – insert blocks of steady into your longer workouts. Learn _even_ endurance workout pacing.

Swim Goal – get comfortable with swimming 1.2 miles without using a lot of energy. What you do is far less important than simply swimming 3x per week every single week for 15 weeks.

Bike Goal – build your long ride up to six hours to train your body’s aerobic system.

Run Goal – stay healthy, run 90 minutes once a week, run off the bike for time management and consistency. Slow down and aim for a consistent period of pain-free running.

Focus – ignore all the various ideas and tips that everyone throws your way. Repeat Your Week. Repeat Your Week. Once you finish the race, you’ll have some data and will know more about whether you enjoy training and racing long.

Sammy came up with a great term that I’d like to share with you. No doubt the sports scientists will beg to differ but (deep down) I kinda get a kick out of their attempts to save the world from it’s own ignorance.

Lactate Bruising – the dead legged feeling from smacking out the intensity early in a TT, race or workout.

I’ve often noticed that any sustained periods over LT will have a big negative impact on late workout or race performance. That’s with my own training. For Racing Long, I’ve extended that observation to “take some time to give a REALISTIC assessment of your average race intensity for the whole day. Bear in mind that your medium of movement becomes less dense as your day progresses. So, you’d better have a clear reason for exceeding average race intensity, especially in the first third of your day.”

ITM Riding

Baron does a pretty good gordo-imitation. Get him to show it to you some time. He’s especially good at imitating my run form and when I’ve had a lot of coffee.

The conditions today are what Baron calls “I’m The Man” riding. We had favourable tailwinds and he was content to let me set the pace all day. So I get fired up on cola and Dr. Pepper – sit up front, ride 40-43 KM/h and go…

Hi! I’m gordo…
I’m _THE MAN_…
I’m going lower…
I need a 58…
I feel GREAT!…
And on…
And on…

And I laugh out loud and sing along to my MP3 player.

Baron does a good imitation of that. Makes me smile. Unless my back’s locked up – which hasn’t happened for a while.

Andy From Memphis

Andy rode out into a MONSTER headwind to meet us. He’s also set us up with his wireless network, a couple of spare beds and a sweet pad! An excellent set-up and very much appreciated by the crew.

There won’t be a State Line photo for entering Tennessee. If you’ve ever driven the I-40 bridge into town then you’ll understand our reluctance to stop…

A – You wanna stop?
G – Dude, it’s hammer time – get me out of here!

Top Three scary situations for the trip.

Didn’t run

Swim was SCY and courtesy of Steve’s club (one heck of a nice guy)
200 fr, 200 alt by 50 bk/br, 200 IM, 200 easy, 50 kick/100 fr/50 kick
15×150 fr on two mins arriving on 1:55
100 easy
4×100 IM on 1:40 arriving on 1:30
5×200 on 2:50 arriving on 2:40

Ride was 250K over about 6.5 hours of ride time. Flat, hot and humid – we were grateful to have Lance ride us out of Little Rock to make sure that we got on our way.

That’s all for now.
g-man

Sunday Summary 22 May 2022

Top 5 by Engagement

  1. SuperVet Fitness – blog tomorrow
  2. Things to try before swimming harder
  3. Training Nutrition
  4. Ditch your alarm, with AC
  5. Train the payoff – also with Jené at Triathlete

Workouts and Working Out

High Performance in the Real World

Even Super Humans Start with One Big Slow Day

This is the way

I’ve been having fun reading NVDP’s training approach (link is to his site).

I felt deep satisfaction seeing an athlete improve on a protocol that was taught to me. Fun to be part of a lineage that extends backwards, and forwards, in time.

A personal confession, there is a twinge of sadness when I read the document. Sadness because I had the passion to do the work, but lacked the courage to recover.

I will teach this to my children, and offer it to you.

Recovery is what truly scares the highly motivated.


Kids have a capacity, and desire, to get very strong at a young age

Where does it all begin?

Skeletal muscle mass – do you have enough muscle to generate the aerobic power for your goals?

Let’s be clear what I’m really talking about => self-starvation risks your ability to be an exceptional athlete.

I lift weights to have aerobic capacity for many tomorrows.

The foundation of wherever you want to take yourself is skeletal muscle mass – very important to get this message through to girls & boys.

Youngsters – ride the natural build up

Oldsters – preserve, and hopefully, build upon your current position


A long slow day to the top of Mt Huron (14,005 ft)

The value of a long slow day

I’m extremely consistent with my aerobic training.

My consistency has resulted in great health, but it has not translated to superior metabolic fitness.

Consistent, moderate aerobic exercise doesn’t translate to superior metabolic fitness.

I do wish it was otherwise!

My lack of metabolic fitness doesn’t impact my body composition, or my life. See my article on training middle aged docs.

Looking forward, metabolics might be a limiter.

Here’s the progression:

  1. At first, moving around all day is tough enough
  2. Next, noodling around, at any speed, for 4-6 hours, is tough enough
  3. Then, maybe we add some jogging, or combine with some cycling
  4. Then, we try to keep easy, constant pressure on our long session

The first time I did 1 to 4… it took me ~5 years

Slow ramp of load.


Know where you are trying to go.

  • NVDP was seeking to break the world record for a 10K skate.
  • I’d like the option to do expeditions with my 15-18 yo son.

The concept of 5s pops up in NVDP’s plan.

  • 5 Days On, 2 Days Off
  • 5x >5,000 kj on the bike
  • 5 days of mind-blowing threshold sessions

The toughest expedition I can imagine can be structured as:

(5x) One Day On, One Day Off => ~5 big days in a two-week block

Thankfully, I don’t need to string 5 days together, like a world champion.

All I need to do is build the capacity to do One Big Slow Day, Rest then repeat.

This was the key lesson of my 20s: the capacity to do one big slow day changed my life.

What is your goal?

Share the journey with people you love.

Sunday Summary 17 April 2022

The Body You Want

Fit Kids & Parenting

Wealth

High Performance Habits

Strength & Conditioning