Targeted Endurance For Self-Coached Athletes

Following on from the Lactate Testing Video, I made another helping you apply your data.

Just in case you prefer written content, I’m going to pull the key points out in this post.

#1 – We train ranges, not averages

To ride a 172w average, I sit in a 150 to 200w range.

If my range crosses into a higher zone/domain then I will be changing the nature of my workout.

With elite athletes, this is not a big deal. They have superior lactate clearance ability and handle micro surges, with ease.

With new and developing athletes, this is a source of underperformance in long workouts. The effective intensity is much higher than the average of the workout.

Learn to swim, bike and run… SMOOTH

It is a foundational skill

#2 – Anchors

Skew your errors left

Recognize that we exercise in ranges, not averages.

Keep your range in the domain you are seeking to train.

Setting an accurate anchor can help.


Aerobic Threshold (AeT) (Border Between Zone 1 and Zone 2)

Easily found using the protocol in my lactate video. Anchor your endurance training here, exercise smoothly, and your range will straddle Zones 1 & 2.


Threshold-Minus (T-) (2.5 to 3.0 mmol step on your lactate test)

For Heavy Domain training, start by anchoring here. This keeps your range away from the Severe Domain, where the recovery cost of your session rises much faster than the benefit from working a fraction higher.


What you call the zones doesn’t matter.

What matters…

Figure out the correct anchor for the stimulus you are seeking

Key points:

  1. Know the effective range of your training
  2. Consider if your range overlaps a higher intensity domain
  3. Set endurance anchors bottom-up
  4. Consider checking in-workout lactates to confirm the above

When you have a fatigue mismatch, it is likely because you are training more intensely than you realize.

When you have upward drift in your heart rate, consider backing off.


The most common “intensity” mistake is blowing right past T- into the Severe Domain (above FT/CP/LT2)

  • Floods the body with lactate
  • Recovery greatly extended
  • Painful
  • Time at intensity reduced, for small gain in work rate

We don’t graduate to crushing ourselves in the Severe Domain – we learn how to use the Heavy Domain wisely.

Additional Resources

Thresholds and Domains – explained very well in this Video by Dr Mark Burnley

I think of domains in terms of green, yellow, red

  • Green – Moderate Domain – Endurance
  • Yellow – Heavy Domain – Intensive Endurance
  • Red – Severe Domain – Use With Specific Intent – Costly

My Lactate Testing Video

The Lactate Thread

The Training Zones Thread


Final Word : it’s easy to get wrapped up in zones & domains.

Given the experts struggle to reach agreement amongst themselves… better to find an effective anchor and get to work!

Corona Diary 24 July 2020

Homie giving me Five after dropping me on my last hill repeat… No Waiting, No Whining, No Mercy!

Our school district asked us to confirm our plan for the start of the year so we officially decided to start with online-only and watch what happens when the 6,000 college kids return to our zip code.

Our oldest started doing Peloton yoga workouts and we agreed to get her a set of bike shoes. She also downloaded Duolingo and started with Spanish. Our two youngest started with Spanish School Bus.

A family friend has been using this site to find tutors: => we’re going to roll a few weeks of online school and try to fill gaps with local teachers.

Another family friend was threatened with termination if they didn’t return to full-time teaching => private school, not our public district.

Tying Federal funding to reopening schools creates the opposite incentive to what our nation needs. It’s a similar screw up to the delay with Federal guidelines for wearing a mask. We should leave decisions to local authorities with guidance from state health departments.

From my son to all the teachers out there!

The last week has let us see the domestic consequences of the Global War on Terror => two decades of the militarization of our society.

Bush 43 set up the DHS to protect us from foreign threats. ~18 years later, Trump is using the DHS as his personal militia (the words of Tom Ridge, hardly a snowflake).

The Federal goon squad was filmed using pepper spray and breaking the hand of a Navy Vet, Chris David, who was exercising his constitutional right to verbally remind the goons of their oath to protect the constitution. The video pissed me off – military-style uniforms, kicking the crap out of citizens.

I doubt Colorado has much to worry about – we have a Republican senator up for re-election and I have a hunch we will see a Blue-State bias wherever the goons appear.

If you want your kids to like what you like then “be the brand.” When they dip their toe with you, treat them with patience, and only use positive feedback. PS – they don’t seem to mind when I teach PE. 😉

Good news at our state level, hospitalizations ticked downwards. Positives still rolling at a similar level.

Less good news was this quote paraphrasing what my Medical Mentor told me back in March => there are places that have had their cases and places that will have their cases.

In other words, local communities don’t respond until they have experienced local pain. The story of my own life, for sure. No lesson is truly learned until I experience negative feedback, myself.

Our State health authority has been promoting DVD – distance ventilation duration – to help us consider risk.

Our Governor made last call for alcohol 10pm for 30 days – read a quip this was because the virus was nocturnal. My view is this change gives an incentive to stock up and head back to a private residence.

Saw another observation => we are arguing about reopening bars/restaurants/etc… at a time when we can’t open all our schools. This rang true.

There is a lack of national leadership on setting priorities for reopening and using red/green zones. I heard this week that our military is using red/green zones internally. It would be straightforward for the Feds to make the system public. I did start to see some Federal guidance on this yesterday with our President standing in front of a hotspot map of the country.

Masks are swinging into national favor – Red State hotspots, Republican business interests, swing state polls, a return to record death rates… have had an impact on public opinion. We still have a ways to go on public action.

A lot of the negative commentary, nationwide, implies the governors are enjoying placing restrictions on people. Folks should think through that point of view – no politician wants to make voters unhappy. They’re each doing their best. They’re doing it differently but that’s OK. We should pay attention to what works, we probably have enough evidence for what doesn’t work.

A friend tried to rope me into a discussion at the edge. I didn’t fall for it. Speak to the middle.

The middle is going to lead us out of this mess.

Best quote of the week => denial is more expensive than facing reality. Prof G used it to point out our university systems are engaged in magical thinking.

Like I said yesterday, trust that people can handle the truth.

Here’s another one – when you’re unsure, bias error towards safety. It’s what we’re doing with our kids and our personal choices.

Final one via John Mauldin – whenever possible choose small, and local => it’s the large entities that are getting the support right now.

Grandpa G at 51 => “get over here, you’ll want this picture when I’m gone”

Final thought, my brain doesn’t seem to notice that all my bike pals are behind a screen. I do a lot of riding with imaginary friends and feel close to them.

Weird, but comforting at this time.