Lactate Testing Viewpoints: A Neuroscientists Thoughts

It is rare that I get an email that I straight up post to the blog, but this one is too good not to share with you all. Justin Graves is an athlete who is new to BASE. He has always been a high achieving individual whether it was in athletics or in academics – yeah – he’s one of THOSE guys.  He is a neuro-nerd who got started in triathlon around the same time I did. It’s been fun seeing his career in the sport develop and it has been even more fun helping him as his coach now.  I had the pleasure of doing his initial lactate threshold tests this weekend and he did a little write up about his experience and how pumped he is to have some hard data to apply to his training…it’s going to be an epic year!

“Using theoretical tests and mathematical formulas to estimate heart rate zones, power zones, running paces is commonplace in the world of endurance sports. As someone who is trained in Neuroscience and has been doing research for many years, written books and articles it is amazing that I have not done lactic acid tests until now. The test itself is no different than your standard threshold workout, but the results it yields are quite substantial. Within the last 3-4 days I have done the run test and bike test courtesy of coach LU and I am just now starting to digest the results and the impact that it will have on my training and performance.

Two really important concepts were learned from these tests: first and foremost was that my heart rate zones are much higher than previously thought, and therefore I was doing myself a severe disadvantage by not knowing the correct zones and ultimately training in the wrong HR zones for most of my workouts. An example is that previously I thought my endurance HR zone was capped around 145-150 bpm, realistically after the tests with coach LU, this zone is actually from 160-180 bpm for the categories of (easy endurance and intense endurance). By doing workouts at the previously lower intensities I was actually in my recovery zones, which is not where you want to be if you are trying to do an endurance intensity workout. This revelation is very important and will allow for more precise and targeted workouts moving foreword, which will only serve to make me stronger, fitter and faster.

The second important fact learned during this test is that this is a technique that measures the physiological processes going on inside your body. It does not seem significant but please let me explain. Knowing that 160-170 bpm running is easy endurance for me allows me to focus on HR while running and not worry about how fast or how slow I am running. In a sense it does not matter, what matters is being in the range of 160-170 to achieve the physiological effect that the workout was designed to achieve. In the simplest of terms, knowledge is power and in cycling power is speed; so using the knowledge gained from these tests can make two significant things happen. First and foremost it allows coach LU to be an even better coach than she already is, simply by knowing concrete physiological values it takes guesswork out of training and replaces it was cold hard facts. Second, which is just as crucial, it allows you to become a better athlete (and the best part is, you don’t have to work any harder than you are already working). Simply put this allows the athlete to train smarter, the coach to design programs for you better informed, and with facts; which in turn leads to better performance, no matter what level the athlete.

Ultimately I am more excited about training and the upcoming race season than I have ever been, simply because now I have a measure of my ability and no
longer have to guess at what I am capable of doing; with these tests, I KNOW what I am capable of doing. As an athlete having confidence in knowing your
abilities is such an amazing asset to carry with you along the way from training to racing.

Thanks LU, you are the best coach a person could ever ask for, and the BASE athletes are the most incredible group of athletes I have had the pleasure
of meeting.. Best of luck to all the athletes during the upcoming winter training and racing season!” ~Justin Graves

If you are interested in getting your lactate threshold testing done contact lauren@basetrifitness.com or click here.