02H40930In order to get fitter to achieve your goal means getting more power/pace from each heart beat.

The key to measuring your improvement and for planning the intensity of your training sessions is Functional Threshold Power or Pace (FTP/FTPa). This is the power a trained athlete can maintain for 60 minutes. As you get fitter your FTP/FTPa increases.

Trained, experienced athletes know how fast they can go without tipping over the red line where any faster will quickly results in exhaustion. They can maintain this pace for long periods. Instinctively they are performing at their functional threshold power or pace.

Your FTP / FTPa is also a function of your bike/run efficiency. Watch a good runner and see how easily they move. Watch a great swimmer swim smoothly at high speed. Wonder why some cyclists are naturally effective at their pedal stroke. You need fitness and efficiency. Setting the right training zones is critical in helping you develop both.

Tests in the lab can find your lactate threshold. This is the point where lactic acid, the bye product of working your muscles, builds to a point where your body can no longer remove it fast enough and you have to slow down or stop. Few of us can afford to do the lab tests at regular intervals so we use a number of field tests to identify this point. Field tests may not be as accurate as lab tests but they will give a sound estimate on which to base your training zones. These will establish your Lactate Threshold Heart Rate (LTHR).

  • Lactate Threshold Heart Rate will not change over time it will remain fairly constant.
  • The power or pace you produce will improve as you get fitter this is your Functional Threshold Power or Pace

Lactate Threshold Field Test

Repeat every 4-6 weeks

1. Simple Run Test

1Step 1

With a heart rate monitor. Run alone for 30 minutes as hard as you can. Use an athletics track or flat road for the test. After 10 minutes click the lap button on your heart rate monitor and record the average heart rate for the final 20 minutes of the test. This gives a good approximation of your LTHR

Step 2

Establish your training zones. Use the following guide to establish each zone by sport.

Run Zones
Zone 1 Less than 85% of LTHR
Zone 2 85% to 89% of LTHR
Zone 3 90% to 94% of LTHR
Zone 4 95% to 99% of LTHR
Zone 5a 100% to 102% of LTHR
Zone 5b 103% to 106% of LTHR
Zone 5c More than 106% of LTHR

Bike

Step 1

With a heart rate monitor. Run alone for 30 minutes as hard as you can. Use an athletics track or flat road for the test. After 10 minutes click the lap button on your heart rate monitor and record the average heart rate for the final 20 minutes of the test. This gives a good approximation of your LTHR

Bike Zones
Zone 1 Less than 81% of LTHR
Zone 2 81% to 89% of LTHR
Zone 3 90% to 93% of LTHR
Zone 4 94% to 99% of LTHR
Zone 5a 100% to 102% of LTHR
Zone 5b 103% to 106% of LTHR
Zone 5c More than 106% of LTHR

Information from Joe Friel http://home.trainingpeaks.com/blog/article/joe-friel-s-quick-guide-to-setting-zones

3.Swim

Since a swimming pool gives us a fairly constant environment and heart rate monitors are usually unreliable in water we have to use a different approach. The test we use it for Critical Swim Speed.

The CSS test involves two timetrial swims – a 400m and a 200m. Before attempting these swims perform a thorough warmup and a small build set to get you used to swimming fast.

Do the 400m timetrial first, it’s less likely to effect the 200m than the other way around. Recover completely between each timetrial with some easy swimming. Perform both timetrials from a push off from the wall, not a dive.

Try and pace the trials as evenly as possible, don’t start too fast and slow down

To calculate CSS

CSS (m/sec) = (400 – 200) / (T400 – T200)

Where T400 and T200 are your 400 and 200m times in seconds.

We then convert your speed from m/sec into time per 100m.

Or use this link to the swim smooth css calculator. This is your zone 4 pace.

Information from Swim Smooth http://www.swimsmooth.com/training.html