Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lactate Profile Test

I signed up with OnUrLeft last week for triathlon coaching.  Mainly because having 7 weeks between LoneStar (wait... now its the Memorial Hermann 70.3 Galveston or some crap like that.  LoneStar sounds so much better) and Boise was freaking me out.  I can figure out how to train for 1 half ironman... but two that close together? 

Part of what OnUrLeft likes their athletes (ha, I'm an "athlete") to do is get their lactate profiled, and then they'll use that information to build heart rate zones for training.  So last Friday, I went and got that done.  It went about as I suspected... increasing speeds on the treadmill and bloodwork.

Before we start, the Terry (the testing guy) interviews me.  Asks about my training speeds (slow and fast) and he talked me through the process.  Basically, you start running at the slowest speed you can maintain w/out walking for 4.5 minutes.  He'll ask for a percieved exertion number (1-10) and take your heart rate then prick your finger to draw blood for the test.  During exercise, your blood lactate levels are supposed to increase slightly, level off, then rise sharply.  Your lactate threshold (where you should be training for endurance) is right where your level rises sharply.  Typically, a lactate level of 4 is about as high as you should be at during endurance workouts.  You know, if you're typical and thing go as they're supposed to.

So, he took a baseline test (concentration of 2.1) and off I went.  We started at at 12:00 pace and went faster from there.  So, as soon as I start runing, I'm hot and bored.  How can you not have a fan for a stress test???  And I'm used to being distracted when I run (at the park, with headphones), so 4.5 minutes of running while starring out a window wasn't ideal.

So, at the end of the first interval, we take a sample, and its high.  Terry makes a comment that maybe we should have started slower, as my blood lactate is already at 4.7. which is pretty high.  My ego is hurt.... a 12:00 pace is REALLY slow.  And really, my heart rate and exertion was low.  And really? I never ever run that slow.

Treadmill goes up to 11:32, I still feel fine, la la la really boring running.  Another finger prick, lactate still is climbing - its at a 5.3.  Terry threatens to do one more blood draw and then start me out much slower.  Lame.

Up to an 11:07 pace... Terry asks me what I think my heart rate is (I couldn't see the monitor).  I guess 170, HR monitor reads 169.  Pace is ok but not stressful.  Take a blood test, my lactate finally decided to cooperate at a 5.3.  Meaning we can move forward.

10:43 pace, things are bit harder, but not awful.  I can tell I'm working but I don't feel pukey (my indication that my HR is over 185).  Blood lactate moves up to 6.5.

10:21 pace, and I really miss the fan. Slightly pukey, guess my HR was 175, and I'm spot on.  Lactate is now at 7.0.

10:00 pace (which is fast for me - I've only ran a sub-10 min 5k once, when fire ants invaded my shoes in transition and then I had ants in my shoes biting me the whole bike/run.... fun!).  Definitely feeling like I'm working harder, HR is 181.  Lactate is 7.2.  Terry calls the test done.

Apparently, my threshold is at a 10:43 pace.  I feel like a wuss, as I swear that during my half marathon training runs, I could sustain a 10:30 to 10:15 pace no problem.  Maybe that pace doesn't feel so bad because I was running outside with a group.  I dunno.  I just hate seeing scientific confirmation that I'm slow.  But at least I'm good at judging my HR based on feel!

Terry emailed my results to my coach and in a few days, she'll set up my training zones.  Should be interesting to see how those stack up.

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