Dr. Coggan/incorrect ideation?

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by Quadsweep, Dec 18, 2006.

  1. Quadsweep

    Quadsweep New Member

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    Regarding blood lactate, L4 training, and how it relates to power production and bodily adaptation allowing for an increase in FTP.

    Are the second and third sentences of the following quote physiologically incorrect?

    "By training slightly below your lacate threshold, you develope the capacity to work harder without increasing blood lactate levels above resting levels. This capacity develops as the body becomes more efficient at clearing lactate as the muscles produce it. As a result of this training adaptation, you can produce more power at a given heart rate......."
    Chris Carmichael



    Also, is there anything to Carmichaels belief that one should train slightly below FTP when trying to increase FTP and not at 100%?
     
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  2. doctorSpoc

    doctorSpoc New Member

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    i'm not Dr. Coggan but that sounds pretty bang on to me...

    what i think you may be missing is that you are producing lactic acid even if you are riding at L1 you just produce more in L2, L3, L4 etc.. you are adapting to clearing lactic acid even at L1... you are just tax more at FTP because you are producing way more and your legs need to clear more... above LT you start producing more lactic acid than can clear so it begins to accumulate exponentially and your legs burn more and more it also starts to interfere with your muscles ability to produce power both aerobically and an-aerobically, so it even gets harder and harder to ride harder... FTP is just the power you can ride at for 1-hour without producing so much lactic acid that you have to stop... it's just a guide.. i know i can ride for a good long time if i ride at power x and as a consequence i will force my legs to clear about as much lactic acid as i can for a good long time.

    if you are riding at or above you FTP all you are doing is causing your self unnecessary pain and limiting the time you can spend training and adapting to clearing lactic acid. the adaptation is really not going to be that much better 10W higher anyway... it's going to be WAY more painful and for no real benefit. in-fact since, it causes you to spend less time training in L4 then it's actually a detriment to ride at or above FTP... L4 if from under to slightly over FTP... anywhere in there you are getting pretty much the same adaptation. so take your pick.. i choose the slightly less painful intensity that allows me to ride for way longer and get maximum time in the zone and as a consequence maximum adaptation... if i'm don't have as much time then i might train at a slightly higher intensity... but, i'm not riding as long so the higher intensity is doable

    that being said there are physiological benefits from dealing with the pain of riding above your FTP for extended periods of time as you might have to in a race... this time of year though.. don't think so...
     
  3. SolarEnergy

    SolarEnergy New Member

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    The one thing I dislike about this statement, though I can't disagree, is this thing about producing more power at a given heart rate.

    We shouldn't be focussing and waiting for this to happen. Some train at relatively low heart rate, and use zones trying to not go over.. I think that might slow down the improvement and set useless limits.

    While I don't know about the veracity of this last sentence, I think we should be happy to see heart rate being high, and higher while training.
     
  4. TiMan

    TiMan New Member

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    This assumes that the mechanism to be concerned with is lactate clearance......that lactate itself is the culprit in limiting power output. Is lactate really the issue at all? Good question for the doc and Ric.
     
  5. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    Well, to me they seem to imply a direct relationship between HR and blood lactate, which is wrong.

    Quadsweep, I'm getting the idea that you're still under the impression that lactate or 'lactic acid' are the evils which limit our ability to produce power on the bike. That's not the case, and this issue has been discussed many times throughout the forum. Here is a very good explanation of lactate and where it comes from and goes to, which I think might clear things up somewhat, however it is a bit dated as can be seen by the references to 'lactic acid'. Lactate is used as a proxy to measure the metabolic processes going on inside the cells, but does not itself limit muscle contractions. In fact, the body processes it as another source of energy. I understand that you'd like Dr. Coggan to directly explain this to you, but it might be easier if you search the forums for 'lactic acid', lactate threshold, lactate testing, etc to find some of the previous discussions on this topic.
     
  6. Alex Simmons

    Alex Simmons Member

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    One does not need to sit right on FTP to improve FTP (assuming you actually know what your FTP is;) ).

    Provided training is in context of an overall plan appropriate to you, then riding sufficient durations at power levels above, at and below FTP will generally all have a positive impact on FTP.

    It will depend on what stage of training you are at as to what workouts will continue to lift FTP and at what rate.
     
  7. Spunout

    Spunout New Member

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    We should train with a relatively high heart rate, but the goal is to develop more power at a specific heart rate.

    Try as I might, I can never raise my HR in a 1-hour TT over pretty consistent levels. But I can increase the power.
     
  8. doctorSpoc

    doctorSpoc New Member

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    not really.. everything i've seen says that lactic acid clearance itself is not directly related to limiting power production.. but its concentration in the blood can be directly correlated with "the culprit" which i believe is still not really understood well... so it would probably be misguided to try to do things to get rid of latic acid directly.. but we know that when we adapt, lactic acid levels are lower at a given power for duration x, we know that we have addapted and what we are doing has been effective... guess, frenchyge said it better.. it's a proxy for whatever is limiting power production...

    [Edit] even though the HR stuff is kinda wrong... i think that quote is from Carmichael's book where he's trying to accomodate riders who don't have power meter and are using HR monitors..
     
  9. sidewind

    sidewind New Member

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    Why the dislike? Eg I started the L4 training by 2*20 min intervals a year ago. First intervals I could do by ~220 Watts. Couple of months later, I could do those by ~270 Watts, while the HRs remained the same, 160-170 or whatsoever. Anyway, I wouldn't dislike if someone would comment that I can produce more power at a given HR. Of course, the intervals were not ridden at a steady HR, but at steady power, but that's another issue than the statement.
     
  10. gza

    gza New Member

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    Who cares what your HR is? Really? All I care about is power. HR is a red herring in performance. I'm not saying HR is useless for training purposes, but as far as performance goes (which is the endgame, or mine at least) it tells us very little indeed.
     
  11. NomadVW

    NomadVW New Member

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    I came from a running background where HR was the bar. I rode the last year with HR and just switched to power in October. Now HR only really tells my how (*&^( cold it was on a given ride. I had started to worry about this heart rate thing when I first switch to power rolling into the cold months. Now, fugget about it.

    I have 35 hours on the bike this month, 9.5 hrs Coggan Power Level4+, with 3hr 40min Friel HR Zone4 and above. I did a century on Sunday, climbing a horrendous mountain for 50 minutes and didn't even get a single second in Zone5, not even a blip. I feel cheated.

    Average power 301w for 52 min, FTP 317. Average HR 157, Max HR 169. "LTHR" 177

    Temperature 3C. I don't know what my blood was doing when it was getting pumped, but I can say I felt the burn for 40-45 minutes of those 52, not counting the descents/flats. I've lost all faith in heart rate zones or training by heart rate. RPE is a world better than HR.

    Better yet, a five minute "all out" workout today took 4 1/2 minutes to get over the mysterious LTHR.

    Every day I do a workout with the powertap is another day I'm glad I'm not depending solely on the HRM to tell me what my body is doing.
     
  12. acoggan

    acoggan Member

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    The second sentence is actually correct. However, the third is not, in that increases in lactate clearance are not the primary (or even secondary or tertiary) adaptation responsible for the ability to produce more power, much less more power at a given heart rate.

    As for the optimal training intensity, I think that varies too much from one situation to the next to draw any hard-and-fast conclusions about what one should or should not do. Certainly, however, you don't have to train at or above functional threshold power to improve it (and in fact large volumes of training at a slightly lower intensity seems to be very effective...just ask Lydiard :D ).
     
  13. sglasgow

    sglasgow New Member

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    I agree with you that you should not dismiss the accumlation and provides guidance as to setting the training level. Though as I understand it the ability to clear lactic acid is very important in that it is reabsorbed and used as fuel. That's why an anaerobic like Salvodelli comes back strong after his descents but has a hard time keeping it for the distance like more aerobic engines. I think there is specific training for this.

    Sean
     
  14. TiMan

    TiMan New Member

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    Good reply and that's what I thought too but......
    What are the primary adaptations that allow us to increase FTP....as we know today....in order of importance?
     
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