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Determining my LT point
Determining the LT point

I've been reading a book, Total Heart Rate Training by Joe Friel. Trying to get a handle on "how hard can I push myself" and "how to best train in the 10 weeks I have left before the race".

The book suggests ditching the idea of Max Heart Rate - varies way too much, and dangerous to calculate - and instead focus on Lactate Threshold Heart Rate.

So, i went with test #2 suggested in the book - although, i didn't have somebody there to log my information down and determine when I started breathing really heavy, i did get the following:

Now, some background. I surprised myself. I felt sure that running at 7 mph would max me out.. so I started at 3 mph and increased 0.2 mph every minute, and I set the treadmill for 25 minutes. To my surprise, i was still going (although near the end of my ability) at 7.6 mph at the end of the treadmill timer. (next time, i'm starting at 4mph and going up to 8.6, i should putter out before then)

I also kept track of what I thought was my breathing, and my perceived rate of exertion.. its not exact, but it seems that my LT is around 170-174.

This puts my workout zones as follows, for Running:

  • Zone 1 = <145 "Active Recovery" = Working out doesn't really stress your body
  • Zone 2 = 145-155 "Aerobic Threshold" = Best way to improve aerobic function without need for large recovery later
  • Zone 3 = 156-162 "Tempo" = Gray zone .. benefits dubious - more recovery needed, but gain is dubious
  • Zone 4 = 163-169 "Sub-Lactate" = Intensity for steady-state, continuous high power output.
  • Zone 5a = 170-173 "Lactate Threshold" = Train here for endurance.
  • Zone 5b = 174-179 "Aerobic Capacity" = Can only maintain for a fewminutes, big recovery cost
  • Zone 5c = 180+ "Anaerobic Capacity" = Not recommended for endurance sports, unless you need to sprint (like soccer)

This matches my perception - it seems like i can go at HR164-168 for quite a while, but when I dip up to the170's, its not for as long. And running at 155, that's where i've done my 10-mile runs, i can do that for a VERY long time.

So, what does this mean?

Well, on Saturday morning, I'm running a 5K: The Fastline (named after the company which hosts it). I have got two options:

First Option: I'm going to start that race at 155 HR (relatively slow, lots of people will pass me) for the first 5 minutes, then bump it up to 168, keep it there till about 1/2 a mile from the finish, and then end it at 176 or so.. and see what kind of time I get.

Second Option: Convert it into a "time trial", which is the other way of determining LT (Method #1 in the book). Basically, you run as far as you can (sustained) for 30 minutes - the last 20 minutes average HR will be your LT. (basically, your body is so fragged that it has no choice but to stay below the LT). The suggestion there is, start a little slow, for the first 10 minutes. I'm a little scared/nervous -- what if I "putter out"? i don't want to not-complete the race..

Heh, my social instinct is quite strong. Okay, I hereby give myself permission to run really hard, and then stop running and switch to walking if I have to, during the 5K on Saturday.

In other 10k news

For the Bourbon Chase, which is a race i'll be participating in, at the end of October, I need to give a 10k time on the application - its used to stagger the start times of the teams so that all the teams will end at about the same time. I've not done a 10k before, but I have done two runs with longer distances ... looking up my times in those runs at which I got to 6.2 miles yields:

Run #1: 92 min (~=4 mph)
Run #2: 74 min (~=5 mph)

Thank you Cardio Trainer.

I didn't want to share it because I have a negative judgement of myself (too slow!) but, hey, i've shared it now, that's where I'm at. I'll give a time of 74 minutes.


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