Those of you who read my blog semi-regularly might remember that a couple of weeks ago, I did a running lactate threshold test. While you can find out your lactate threshold with more precision by doing a test on a treadmill, with someone taking your blood every few minutes, I went for a less bloody version of the test. My test involved warming up for 10 minutes, then running as fast as I could for 30 minutes. My average heart rate for the last 20 minutes of the run is something called the lactate threshold. Basically, your lactate threshold is the point where your body produces lactate faster than it can get rid of it. Once lactate starts accumulating in your muscles, they start to burn, and you get tired pretty fast. This happens at a very specific heart rate, and once you know this heart rate (from lactate threshold testing), you can figure out all of your heart rate training zones.
Interestingly enough, you have a different lactate threshold for different sports. So, on this past Tuesday, I headed to the gym so I could do lactate threshold testing on the bike. I had to follow the same protocol: 10 minute warmup followed by a 30 minute time trial, taking my average heart rate for the last 20 minutes. The running test was painful, but at least I did it outside, with a nice breeze. The bike test, however, was on an indoor trainer, with no fan anywhere in sight. Just in case you were wondering, this is what you look like after enduring a test like this:
Definitely not my best look! I would have taken a picture of the puddle of sweat under the bike, but the carpet pretty much soaked it up.
Anyway, now that the tests are done, the results are in. Here are my heart rate training zones for running and biking:
Zone 1: Recovery, warm up, cool down 115-146 (run), 109-135 (bike)
Zone 2: Aerobic147-157 (run), 136-149 (bike)
Zone 3: Tempo158-165 (run), 150-155 (bike)
Zone 4: Sub Threshold166-172 (run), 156-166 (bike)
Zone 5a: Super Threshold 173-176 (run), 167-170 (bike)
Zone 5b: Aerobic Capacity 177-183 (run), 171-176 (bike)
Zone 5c: Anaerobic Capacity 184-192 (run), 177-182 (bike)
Now, I just need to learn how to use these zones! I’m not so sure that I want to experience much of Zone 5c! Luckily I won’t have to experience that for at least a couple of months – most of my training now calls for Zones 2 and 3.