Lactate Test #4: Stupid is as stupid does

September 17, 2018

Over a month ago, I did my fourth lactate capacity test of the season. I did both the aerobic and anaerobic portions on the same day, albeit with a break and some food between them.

Since my last test in early July, I’ve been doing a lot of Local Muscular Endurance (LME) training. I was keen to get the LME phase started because I’ve had good results from it in the past. But I should have realized that a dense LME schedule could increase anaerobic capacity.

A graph of the results from my fourth lactate capacity test
In early August, I completed my fourth lactate capacity test of the season. The results are a bit disappointing, showing a shift in the curve up and to the left. (The dark red line is the most recent test. The other grey lines fade as the date of the test gets older.)

What does this lactate test show?

Being fast-twitch, I respond to high-intensity training fairly quickly. I have to slow the progression of high-intensity workouts so that I don’t overwhelm my aerobic system. I let my enthusiasm for LME get the better of my judgment, and it shows in my August test. My lactate curve shifted up and left.

That shift is disappointing, but I backed off the LME training after I saw it. I reduced the number of high-intensity sessions from three per week to two, and only one of the sessions was LME.

Instead of more LME, I added 30-30 intervals. (30-30s are 30″ on, 30″ off at 130% and 65% of aerobic threshold respectively.) The more relaxed progression of LME, the aerobic stimulus of the 30-30s, and more training volume at sub-aerobic threshold should push my curve back down and right. I hope…

The one unknown from the test is the change in anaerobic capacity from ~13 to ~11 mM. At first glance, it looks like a decrease, and it may be:

  • The ~11 mM result came from an AFAP interval of 45″ at 3,000 mhr; while
  • The previous ~13 mM result came from a 90″ interval at 2,400 mhr.

I could just barely complete the 45″ interval, so a 25% increase in speed may have been too much. However, I’ll stick with that speed for now so that future tests will be an apples-to-apples comparison.

Unfortunately, I don’t know whether or not anaerobic capacity has increased or decreased. But based on my keener scheduling of LME, the shorter anaerobic capacity interval, and the curve shift up and left, I think there’s a good chance that it increased.

What training led to this shift?

Here’s a breakdown of the training that I’ve done between my third and fourth lactate tests:

    Modes: max strength, fasted sessions, super easy volume, faster aerobic work, lots of local muscular endurance

  • Volume versus intensity:
    • 98.5% <= of AeT HR (versus 99.7% before my second test);
    • ~68% <= 80% of AeT HR (versus ~64%).
  • Specificity:
    • ~29% of training time was on (roller) skis (versus ~25%);
    • ~98% was weight-bearing (versus ~97%).
A graph of training volume by heart rate zones between my third and fourth lactate tests
Training Distribution by Heart Rate Zone: The left-most graph is my training distribution for last season (2017/2018). The middle graph is the distribution for the current season (2018/2019). The right-most graph is the distribution between my previous test (on July 2nd) up to the day before my most recent test (on August 12th).
A graph of training volume by mode between my third and fourth lactate tests
Training Distribution by Training Mode: The left-most graph is my training distribution for last season (2017/2018). The middle graph is the distribution for the current season (2018/2019). The right-most graph is the distribution between my previous test (on July 2nd) up to the day before my most recent test (on August 12th).

How does this influence the next training phase?

As mentioned, when I saw the up-and-left shift, I backed off on high-intensity in general, LME training in particular, and I added 30-30s. Hopefully that will do as I suspect and shift my curve back down and right.

(Due to summer vacation and the kids being out of school, I didn’t do as good a job with my notes for the August test. My next lactate test is this week, so I’ll try and be more conscientious.)

The one change that I’m going to make is to increase the pace of my recovery workouts. This isn’t much of a difference in intensity (from “super easy” to “easy”), but it’s time to start increasing the pace in general.

In general, it feels like things are going well. Times on benchmark aerobic workouts are dropping. That’s always a good sign.

Posted in: endurance training