Any ideas for an Aomalously BAD LT?

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by Factor3, Apr 28, 2006.

  1. Factor3

    Factor3 New Member

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    I've been riding for about 2 years....... this is my first year racing. I've gotten tested for LT and VO2Max 3 times (through respiratory machine, O2 mask, and HRM, facilitated by my coach). My Max HR is 210 bpm............ here's where it gets REALLY weird:

    Here are my results:
    1st test done back in 7/05, LTHR was 136bpm (64% MHR!!!!) and VO2Max was 59.4 ml/kg.
    2nd test done on 11/05, LTHR was 137bpm (65% MHR!!!) and VO2Max was 64.2 ml/kg (an increase of 1% on my LT but 10% on my VO2Max!)
    3rd test done on 02/01/06 LT was 143bpm (68% MHR) and VO2Max was 69.1 ml/kg (an increase of 3% on my LT and 9% on my VO2Max).

    It may help to know that (even though I work REAL hard at it) my recovery is REALLY bad (almost 2.5 - 3 minutes to come down from 186 to 120).

    My coach tells me that I am an anomaly like he's never seen, because as everyone knows, the LT is supposed to be a highly malleable number, whereas the VO2Max is supposed to be minimally changeable....... yet I'm doing the complete opposite!

    I'm usually riding about 150 - 200 miles per week, including a solid strength training 2 hour day and a solid interval day (2 hours as well).

    Has anyone ever heard of something like this?? Got any fresh ideas I could put into play?
     
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  2. netscriber

    netscriber New Member

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    There are some real experts here. But I can almost be certain that one of the first questions is going to be, what kind of threshold training do you do? And what are the percentages of work on threshold Vs the other work?
     
  3. WarrenG

    WarrenG New Member

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    For the most part, you are what you train. If you do plenty of training that is aimed at improving your oxygen consumption your VO2max number will increase. It will probably plateau soon enough and then you will hope to see further increases in the time you can perform at your VO2max level of intensity (or above) and the amount of power you can produce within this range of intensity.

    Your VO2max number doesn't really mean that much. What matters much more is how much power you can produce within that range of intensity.

    You have not said anything about your change in power at your LTHR, only that you think your LTHR changed. It is common for your LTHR to go up after your first few months of training, but what you want is for the power you can put out at that HR to increase. Did it?
     
  4. Factor3

    Factor3 New Member

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    First Question: the amount of threshold training is about 2 hours per week; that constitutes around 1/5 of my weekly training; the threshold training itself consists of a multitude of different types of intervals ranging from anaerobic intervals (without full recovery), sawtooth intervals (way up high, then way down low), sustained intervals (3 to 2 ratio of work to rest) etc.

    Regarding the power output at LTHR, I didn't think that I was 'good enough' to get into that whole range of gear (as I mentioned, this is my first year of actual racing). I don't have precise numbers, but I can say without a doubt that my avg. mph has increased at LTHR during 100 mile rides (so I think that would lead to the idea that I have increased my power at LTHR).

    But everything that I've been reading says that normally LTHR is about 80% of max on most 'fit' athletes. Yet mine, even after considerable training specifically geared towards (at least I thought it was geared towards LT?) LT, it still remains at a 68%!

    One of the most frustrating parts of all of this is that when I do TTs, I'm the fastest person on my team............ yet when we get into the longer rides (90-100 miles), I really can't keep up........ I attribute this to having such a low LTHR relative to MHR, AND relative to VO2Max HR (which is 183). Should I just strictly be working on improving my power at my current LT? If so, how should I do that?
     
  5. WarrenG

    WarrenG New Member

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    From your description this could be some relatively hard training that may have more effect on your ability above your LT than around and below your LT.

     
  6. netscriber

    netscriber New Member

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    I think you are doing too much work above LT. If you want to improve your power at LT you need to put in more minutes at riding near LT. Probably 3-4/5.
    2x20s are really good threshold intervals.
    If you do not have access to a power meter it gets a little weird. Because the HR can move around quite a bit. The power at LT is very trainable and can move up really high if you keep working on it. This also should be a stapled workout all year around.
     
  7. bikeguy

    bikeguy New Member

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    I think that that's all you need to know, that you improved your times over 100 miles means your long term power has increased. No need to be concerned over the HR at LT values. The VO2 max increases you've seen
    are quite impressive.

    -Bikeguy
     
  8. Factor3

    Factor3 New Member

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    Interesting, because the test that I received, it indicated ml 02/kg/min..... I am assuming that refers to the number you referenced above of "2.5 mmol/l", it just is slightly lower.

    With that said, I have actually tried to make sure that I am doing my 100 mile rides exactly at my LTHR (as referenced above), and it has been working quite well for me. I don't cramp up at all. I used to cramp up REALLY severely (long story, used to ride way too high, avg HR 160-170, and after 60-70 miles, EVERY muscle in my body would be cramping).

    So are you saying then if I were to ride for 3 hours at 153 (10 bpm over my LTHR) that would not only help to potentially increase my LTHR at 2 mmol/l (I can always hope, right?), but also increase my power output at LTHR when I do knock it down 10 beats for the 90-100 mile rides?

    What's a good way to measure power? Power tap is the only thing that I know of........ got any other ideas?

    Please excuse my ignorance......... I'm not sure what 3-4/5 is? Is that workload to rest ratios?

    So are you saying that the main way to improve power at LTHR is by riding near that number? So all of the interval training, while it might (but hasn't) increase my LTHR, it wouldn't in fact improve my power at LTHR like I thought it would?
     
  9. Factor3

    Factor3 New Member

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    Thanks, I appreciate the perspective. My frustration is that I've got other guys in my gym (race club), who don't work nearly as hard as I do (I guess that's not subjective:D ), and their LTHR has increased 10 beats........ in only the past 4 months!!! The training seems to be affecting others in the way that it is supposed to affect them (LTHR), yet it affects VO2Max for me and NOT LTHR, which is precisely what I am trying to change.
     
  10. netscriber

    netscriber New Member

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    Quite simply the LT work/total work. In other words more of LT work and lesser of AC/VO2Max work. I am not a coach by any means, this is just my opinion. :)
     
  11. netscriber

    netscriber New Member

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    I second Bikeguy. I have learned to ignore the HR and instead try to focus on increasing sustainable power. The actual LTHR is just an effect and everyones rate of change and plateau is purely individual. However if you train around the threshold correctly and put a lot of minutes the power at the threshold will keep going up and will go up significantly. IOW, you will get faster at the LTHR even if it gets stuck.
     
  12. WarrenG

    WarrenG New Member

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    I think this means your LTHR is being measured near 2mmol/l. This is a relatively low guideline that is sometimes used so don't be concerned that your LTHR is only 68% of your MHR because people that have it near 80% are using a definition of LT that is slightly different from you. No worries.


    Yes. And just to reiterate, your HR at LT is not going to change much, if any now that you are training. Be concerned with how much faster you can go at that HR, and above that HR. This is where you want to see increases. Your friends who have seen larger increases in their HR at their LT, not important once you're training. They probably haven't been training much at all before their first test.

    Since your LT is defined so low (~2mmol/l), training at that level is useful, but not quite as useful as training above that, for what you're trying to do. IF your LT was defined as something like 3.0 or 4.0, then you would do lots of training slightly below those levels to improve your ability for a 4-hour ride.

    Basically, the harder you go the less you can do of that. If you rode for 20 hours a week at your LTHR you would get faster at that HR. If you want to train about 10 hours a week then you need to up the intensity slightly. The physiological changes you'll see by training around 10bpm above your LTHR (defined around 2.0mmol/l) will help you improve as much, or more than if you just rode at your LTHR for 15-20 hours a week.
     
  13. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    Our club had a sports medicine MD talk at a meeting earlier this year and perform a live LT test on a willing subject. He discussed the confusion around the definition of LT. The formal definition he used for "LT" was the power level which causes the first rise in blood lactate levels, or 2.0-2.5 mmol/ml. The resulting HR "at LT" was around 68% of max HR on subject he tested that evening.

    He explained that the "LT" used by most of us should be referred to as the OBLA, or MLSS. This level is generally at or near 4.0 mmol/ml, and corresponds roughly to a HR of 85-88% in many riders. Unlike the lower 2.0 value, time at 4.0 mmol and above is considered limited, so that power output at this level of blood lactate is important.
     
  14. beerco

    beerco New Member

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    How did he measure lactate?
     
  15. Factor3

    Factor3 New Member

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    I'm not sure as to the intricacies of the respiratory machine. As I metioned above, it states in the column: VO2 (ml 02/kg/min): and then lists thresholds and VO2Max, etc. Your HR is specifically dialed into the machine while all of this is going on as well. I would assume that it analyzes the amount of oxygen that you are putting out at given HRs and then as your oxgen consumption falls at certain levels (e.g. you are using sugar instead of O2) yada yada. But as I said, I don't know exactly how it works, but I HAVE seen them before, I think they're pretty common. There was no blood prick though if that is what you are wondering.
     
  16. beerco

    beerco New Member

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    All is clear. I don't know of an easy way to break it to you. Either your coach doesn't exactly understand the concepts of LT etc, or he understands them and chooses to proceed even though he doesn't have the right equipment.

    Lactate threshold is defined as the rate of work (in watts) which elicits a particular increase in blood lactate. No finger prick, no measurement of LT. No powermeter or ergometer, no measurement of LT. LT is not measured in BPM, only watts (although HR @ LT is often reported even though it is a pretty worthless figure) (It should also be noted that clinical LT is usually an intensity significantly below the maximum that one can sustain for say an hour TT).

    All that being said, Lactate threshold is not a particularly useful measure of performance for training athletes since it is very difficult to prescribe workouts in concentrations of lactate ;). While LT measurements might be interesting for sports scientists, for most of us, performance itself - measured with a powermeter, stopwatch or your own perceived exertion - is a much more useful thing to use to prescribe workouts etc....time to find a new coach. :(
     
  17. WarrenG

    WarrenG New Member

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    Since there was no blood sample it would be virtually impossible to pinpoint your LTHR closer than +/- 5 bpm (or more), especially since the LT was being defined down at 2-2.5mmol/l. If it was defined as something near 4mmol/l then there are some changes in your respiration that could help indicate your LTHR (Google on "Conconi test"), but even with the Conconi your HR numbers could hav a range near +/- 3 or more bpm.

    In light of this I would pay very little attention to the supposed changes and differences in your LTHR and those of your friends.

    VO2max would be correct if the machine was used normally. I suggest you either do a blood test for more accuracy or try some of the various road tests mentioned online and in prior posts in this forum.
     
  18. WarrenG

    WarrenG New Member

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    It is not difficult. Looking at the graphs of HR, power, and lactate levels makes it a simple thing to develop several useful training levels that use HR, and/or power that is associated with certain levels of lactate. This guy has done this really well for me for three years now and for many, many others. http://www.google.com/search?q="massimo+testa,+M.D."&hl=en&lr=&client=safari&rls=en&start=0&sa=N

    Ask Lance why he did some of his training with a lactate analyzer in his jersey pocket.
     
  19. beerco

    beerco New Member

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    We've heard it all before Warren. Most of us don't ride around with a lactate analyzer in our jersey pockets. There's nothing magic about lactate levels. Power and performance are IMNSHO, much beter metrics with which to prescribe workouts, especially for me.

    But I'm sure Max does excellent work with his lactate analyzer for you.
     
  20. beerco

    beerco New Member

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    With the emphasis on the "or more" part. HR can by off by like 20bpm day to day.
     
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