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  1. #1
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    Few questions about LTHR, anaerobic threashold etc.

    Hi guys
    Things are changing, and more scientific researches are done bringing new info. I have been out of pro sport as athlete now for almost 20 years, and almost 15 years as coach, which means I'm following this sort of development only from far far distance. I'm done with racing (one mtb marathon a year doesn't count as racing ), but I'm still doing lot of sport, and to some extent I do it the way I have been used to during my active career. And believe it or not, even after all those years of being pro athlete (in xc skiing), I still sometimes find interval trainings as fun. Not on regular basis, but from time to time, it's fun to suffer, and at that time, I kinda need to know where and how far to go.
    Anyway... to my question. In my active days, we have been used to have HR zones based on anaerobic threashold, which was measured in lab, but after I quit and lab testing is not an option, I normally do this by simple Conconi test. Then I have been reading quite a bit about how anaerobic threashold is useless and LTHR is the thing. And here comes my question. More I have been reading, more I have feeling this is actually pretty much exactly same thing. Can someone more into nowadays training methods jump in and correct me if I'm wrong, or confirm if I'm right? Conconi test and LTHR test are completely different and done different way, but I have impression they both give very same results.
    Thanks in advance to anyone with knowledge who would bother to jump in
    Primoz

  2. #2
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    Edit: my understanding was wrong. See the next answer for more accurate info.


    My understanding is that lactic threshold is the heart rate at which your system switches over from aerobic to anaerobic energy production. I suppose I don't know exactly what the anaerobic threshold is referring to, but it sure sounds to me like that's exactly what it's referring to. Perhaps the difference is in the testing, and the exact reference point that the test is pointing to. My guess is that they found an easier way to test for it, which lead to a different use of terminology.

    There are a handful of methods for figuring this out which most produce reliable results within one or two BPM. That should be plenty accurate enough unless you're training for the Olympics or something. :-)

    What's interesting is that your lactic threshold is trainable. This is my first year training seriously, but mine has gone up four or five BPM this year alone. I also think it's crazy how different people have such varying rates regardless of how fit they are. For instance, mine tends to run super high, but I'm winning races in my age group, so I must not be that out of shape. :-) my max heart rate in my last race was 203, and my average was 187 over the course of an hour and 20 minutes. One of the guys I race with who is my same age (41) says he feels like he's gonna puke @ 175bpm.

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    Last edited by Thumper33; 08-09-2017 at 03:52 PM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thumper33 View Post
    My understanding is that lactic threshold is the heart rate at which your system switches over from aerobic to anaerobic energy production. I suppose I don't know exactly what the anaerobic threshold is referring to, but it sure sounds to me like that's exactly what it's referring to. Perhaps the difference is in the testing, and the exact reference point that the test is pointing to. My guess is that they found an easier way to test for it, which lead to a different use of terminology.

    There are a handful of methods for figuring this out which most produce reliable results within one or two BPM. That should be plenty accurate enough unless you're training for the Olympics or something. :-)

    What's interesting is that your lactic threshold is trainable. This is my first year training seriously, but mine has gone up four or five BPM this year alone. I also think it's crazy how different people have such varying rates regardless of how fit they are. For instance, mine tends to run super high, but I'm winning races in my age group, so I must not be that out of shape. :-) my max heart rate in my last race was 203, and my average was 187 over the course of an hour and 20 minutes. One of the guys I race with who is my same age (41) says he feels like he's gonna puke @ 175bpm.

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    Your lactic threshold is not when you go from aerobic to anaerobic.

    Your lactic threshold is when you start generating more lactic acid than you can metabolize or get rid of and thus start accumulating in excess. Lactic acid is not bad, in fact is a valuable supply of energy for your body.

    Lactic threshold by itself doesn't tell you anything useful other than what it is, but still is useless information because extensive research has shown that the lactic threshold is not what limits our critical power (Anecdotally, VO2 Max doesn't limit CP either, unless you are past 40 which then can be the case).

    What you want to know is your Critical power or the proportional HR at CP. Lactic threshold should always be below the critical power threshold, in fact some athletes can sustain massive amounts of lactic acid that basing your workouts zones on lactic threshold would be erroneous by a large margin.

  4. #4
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    That makes a lot of sense. Sorry for the misinformation. I suppose this is why everyone is getting power meters now. .



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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by TDLover View Post
    What you want to know is your Critical power or the proportional HR at CP. Lactic threshold should always be below the critical power threshold, in fact some athletes can sustain massive amounts of lactic acid that basing your workouts zones on lactic threshold would be erroneous by a large margin.
    Proportional HR at CP will be highly variable, which doesn't necessarily discount it as a metric one could use for establishing training zones, but does underscore the need for more data. My testing is scheduled for periods where I am fresh, which usually means my HR will be proportionately higher at a given wattage than when I'm on the tail end of a 3 or 4-week block. If you are training with HR only, you need to find a way to control this variance, otherwise training intensity will go down as your fatigue increases and HR drops. Before I had a power meter, I would use outdoor segments or indoor speeds/gears as the control; e.g., establish fresh HR zones, find an outdoor segment or an indoor speed/gearing combination that puts you firmly in the desired zone, then use those virtual 'zones' as the gauge, not HR. It's not perfect, but helps in controlling for HR variance.

  6. #6
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    LT, AT, CP, FTP, etc. all happen at *around* the same intensity. This will be individual, but if you're testing to determine the effects of training, your CP should be comparable to your CP.

    One thing to keep in mind however, is zones. These 'zones' are based off of normative data (averages from a whole pile of people who have completed some testing), and just because you are exercising at 71.09% of your LT, this doesn't guarantee that you are gaining the desired training effects expected from training at 71.09% of your LT.

    The answer to this issue probably is not that you need to do more testing, but that you need to be more flexible in how you view zones, performance and metrics
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