Interpreting lab test of HR/VO2/Lactate for training zones

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  • #69370

    Hello. I’ve recently read ‘Uphill Athlete’ and this is my first post.

    I undertook a VO2Max/Lactate test in my university sports lab last week and wanted some advice on how to use the results according to the training methodology in ‘Uphill Althlete’.

    I did an incremental VO2Max test with blood samples taken while running. The test passed all the validity checks.

    This was the protocol:

    The Bruce (1972) protocol consists of seven 3-minute stages with incremental gradient increases until volitional exhaustion:

    1.     2.7 km.h-1 (10%).
    2.     4.0 km.h-1 (12%).
    3.     5.5 km.h-1 (14%).
    4.     6.8 km.h-1 (16%).
    5.     8.1 km.h-1 (18%).
    6.     8.9 km.h-1 (20%).
    7.     9.7 km.h-1 (22%).

    Blood lactate and rating of perceived exertion is assessed after every stage, heart rate is recorded and pulmonary gas exchange is collected breath-by-breath.

    A summary of the gas exchange and lactate results are attached.

    The gas exchange (Cortex Metalyzer 3B CPET) and HR monitor, measured:

    VT1: 35 ml/kg/min | 152 bpm ?
    VT2: 50 ml/kg/min | 179 bpm
    ?VO2Max: 52 (30 sec average) 59 ml/kg/min (peak) ?
    Max HR: 186 bpm

    Lactate-E modelled the following, based on the seven blood samples:

    2mmol/l above baseline: 157.07 bpm ?
    Initial Rise of 1mmol/l at 6.55 | HR: 165.59 bpm
    4mmol/l above baseline: 172.72 bpm ?
    Lactate Threshold at 7.45 | HR: 174.40 bpm

    So, if I am training by HR Zones, which do I use to mark AeT and AnT?

    For AeT, do I use: 152 or 157 or 166 or average the three: 158
    For AnT, do I use: 179 or 173 or 174 or average the three: 175

    I should also say that I did AeT and AnT tests a week apart last month, according to the methods outlined in the book. I estimated by AeT to be 159bpm over 60 mins and was nose-breathing throughout. The Pa:Hr was 2.12%, so I under-estimated it and have been using a HR of 162bpm in training. The 60 mins AnT test resulted in an average HR of 175 bpm, which I took as my lactate threshold.

    Thanks for any advice.

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    josswinn on #69377

    I don’t know why question marks appeared at the end of some of the lines. Ignore them.

    Reed on #69387

    Looks good, looks like you have this pretty dialed in at ~155bpm AeT & ~175bpm AnT, with lactate and gas exchange crossover helping to triangulate. The main thing I’d suggest is to not get tripped up by false precision. Your actual aerobic threshold on any given day might be ±5bpm or more.

    josswinn on #69406

    Thanks Reed. That’s reassuring to know. I think what confused me is a line in the Uphill Athlete book that says: “… the AeT corresponds to the point where the blood lactate concentration has risen modestly (1mMol/L) above a baseline reading to a value of about 2mMol/L.”

    You can see that my HR at those two markers is not the same – they are different markers, rather than the same.

    I think I’ll stick with what I figured out in field tests. It’s working nicely and the lab tests pretty much confirm what I had already found.

    Dada on #69421

    First of all congrats on your impressive result!

    Do have information on maximum fat oxidation? This could help your picking the “right” AeT.

    Besides that, and what you said before, I think the Log-Log estimation is a very good estimation of your AeT (160 bpm).

    You can input your test values here to play around with different concepts:


    josswinn on #69423

    Thanks Dada. I will have a read of your documentation to understand what the different functions and methods mean. I wasn’t sure what log-log referred to but noticed that it was close to my field testing. I went for a Fartlek run yesterday and was reminded again that upper 150s/160 is when things start to feel hard and mid-170s is when my stomach and legs start to hurt.

    josswinn on #69426

    Sorry, I didn’t answer your question fully, Dada. I don’t think max fat oxidation was recorded, but have included more info from the gas exchange test. Is EEFAT what you are asking about? The blue highlights are what the lab technician summarised as my results.

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    josswinn on #69451

    I thought I might as well share the whole data file, minus some personal details.

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    Dada on #69463

    Since I see your fatmax rather at 145 I would rather target that zone

    Dada on #69470

    And yes, EEFAT is your fat oxidation. So, I would not train higher than 152 so you don’t worsen your fat contribution.

    josswinn on #69478

    Dada, I can see where you got 152 from, but where does 145 come from?

    As it happens, I have been training with 145 as the top of my Z1 since reading the Uphill athlete book (160 as top of Z2, and 175 as top of Z3 based on 60 minute field tests).

    Please can you suggest what values I should enter into the calculator:

    Thank you.

    Dada on #69479


    The 145 is where your fatmax lies (see attachment, ignore the Fatox belly prior 145bpm, this us just because of the fitted trendline).

    I would enter:
    Max HR: 186
    AnT HR: 175
    AeT HR: 152

    This is targeting Fatmax best which should yield the highest progression. And since this is targeting Fatmax, you can train almost entirely in your new Z2.

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    josswinn on #69481

    Thanks, Dada (and Reed). I get it now.

    The various measures (AeT, AnT, VT1, VT2, Fatmax, 2mmol/l, 4mmol/l…) are confusing when working with lab data as there are slight differences between each threshold and in my case it points to more than 10% or less than 10% difference between AeT and AnT.

    For example, if I use the lactate scores (Log-Log 160, LT2 175), the AeT/AnT diff is 9%. If I go by Fatmax (152/175), the AeT/AnT diff is 13%.

    Thanks again. I appreciate the time you took to help with this.

    Dada on #69482

    I knew you were bringing up the AeT/AnT diff ?

    So my two cents: train at around fatmax that will boost your real fat-proppeled AeT performance the most. When you train higher as the fatmax you train the glycolic pathway rather than the fat pathway (you see that when you look at your CHO dominance after 145 bpm)

    And yes, for me you are within the 10% diff so go for higher intensities as well.

    Glad we could help, let us know how it works for you.

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