Some guidance after a lactate test

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  • #21328

    Hi Everyone,

    I recently got “Training for the uphill athlete” book and going through it, really liking it, great job!

    To have an idea where I currently stand in term of aerobic fitness, I did a lactate test two weeks ago at the Canmore Nordic Center (which recently opened to the general public for testing):
    Aerobic threshold: 145
    Lactate threshold: 160
    That’s the famous 10% difference between talked about in the book.

    I’m 43, I’m not into big mountain objectives (nothing planned above 7.000 meters / 23.000 feet), I’m more of a regular outdoor weekend type (until I can retire and do way more) who loves to enjoy mountains to scramble, ski tour, do a bit of
    ski mountaineering and mountaineering on the very easy technical side.
    I train my cardio by cycling and I’m aware it doesn’t translate into mountain fitness as much as running but I didn’t get the running bug yet.
    My goal is to get in better shape to be able to enjoy longer mountain days covering more distance and elevation gain and reach more non-technical mountain tops without going above 7000 meters / 23.000 feet elevation.

    With the current 10% difference between the two thresholds, should I continue to train in zones 1 and 2?
    If yes, will that improve my aerobic and lactate thresholds?

    Thanks in advance for your feedback.

  • Inactive
    Anonymous on #21373


    Good for you for getting tested. I’ve spent a fair bit of time at the Canmore Nordic Center. Nice facility.

    Since you already have a high aerobic base you should definitely include some Z3 and Z4 workouts into your plan. You should greatly reduce if not drop all Z2 training and do your aerobic base work in Z1. You are in the enviable position where your easy days need to be easy so that your hard days can be hard. This will move the pace at LT up and if you keep the volume of Z1 high your AeT may move ups some. That depends on your training history. You can do Z2 training but it should be directed and not just going out for 3 hours in Z2. It can be part of a warm up before more intense training. It can even be part of a tempo type workout where you in moving from high Z2 into Z3 and back again. But too much Z2 will make you too tired to get the most from you intensity. This is when Z2 becomes the “black hole” of training intensities.

    To really maximize your performance on the long mountain days you will need to include more running/hiking workouts. The bike is just too dang efficient. But you already know this. If you are performing at the level you want to be at then stay on the bike.


    Stephane on #21378

    Thank you so much Scott for such a comprehensive reply, that’s super helpful, I’ll put this plan into action. You definitively gave me the motivation to include some running in my training 🙂

    Really looking forward to your stop in Calgary on May 12!


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