An hour at zone 3, is it useful?

A light bike doesn't replace good fitness.

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AeroObsessive
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by AeroObsessive

spartacus wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 2:04 am
FTP needs to get thrown out because it's hard to test and nobody agrees what it means or how to test it anyway. To me power curve makes sense (x watts for x minutes). Maybe if someone could make an average number based on a power curve that would be more consistent.
FTP is dead is easy to test for. Do a 40km TT. Or ride as hard as you can for an hour. Test done. Where the use of FTP gets warped is when people derive FTP as a percentage of say a 20min test.

But I agree - power curve is a better guide. Knowing lactate inflection points is even better, but not quite as easy to obtain (but not *that* hard either).

iheartbianchi
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by iheartbianchi

AeroObsessive wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:23 am
spartacus wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 2:04 am
FTP needs to get thrown out because it's hard to test and nobody agrees what it means or how to test it anyway. To me power curve makes sense (x watts for x minutes). Maybe if someone could make an average number based on a power curve that would be more consistent.
FTP is dead is easy to test for. Do a 40km TT. Or ride as hard as you can for an hour. Test done. Where the use of FTP gets warped is when people derive FTP as a percentage of say a 20min test.

But I agree - power curve is a better guide. Knowing lactate inflection points is even better, but not quite as easy to obtain (but not *that* hard either).
The hour test or a long TT really should be the only recommended means of testing for FTP if you are going to use FTP zones as the basis of your training. I understand the appeal of a 20m TT (less painful), but it is subject to so many variables that anyone who is serious enough to do structured FTP training should take their training seriously enough that they should commit to doing an hour long TT every training cycle.

And I just dont get why people dont do lactate testing. Devices can be had for less than a power meter, and you can prick your ear yourself if you need to. There are portable devices you can fit into your jersey pocket or mount to your bike. Diabetics prick themselves several times a day, and why dont cyclists prick themselves once or twice a month (no gutter jokes plz :lol: )

We can easily devise power based training metrics based on a power % of lactate threshold but the online coaching industry has gone all-in on FTP it seems.
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AeroObsessive
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by AeroObsessive

iheartbianchi wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:52 am
We can easily devise power based training metrics based on a power % of lactate threshold but the online coaching industry has gone all-in on FTP it seems.
Not close to being true.

And I guess FTP is used because maybe, just maybe, it's good enough in many cases.

And maybe because there are bad coaches, and cookie cutter programs deriving X from Y are easy to bring in the dollars. But bad coaches exist, regardless of metrics.

iheartbianchi
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by iheartbianchi

AeroObsessive wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 12:24 pm
iheartbianchi wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:52 am
We can easily devise power based training metrics based on a power % of lactate threshold but the online coaching industry has gone all-in on FTP it seems.
Not close to being true.

And I guess FTP is used because maybe, just maybe, it's good enough in many cases.

And maybe because there are bad coaches, and cookie cutter programs deriving X from Y are easy to bring in the dollars. But bad coaches exist, regardless of metrics.
I was actually hoping somebody would ask how you can devise power-based training metrics based on a % of lactate threshold (hint: what every elite team and cyclist I have ever worked with does).

Step 1: Find an ergometer or a roller or turbo trainer.
Step 2: You and your buddies gather some cash together and buy a lactate threshold tester for roughly $400 (less than a power meter) - or buy one yourself. Make sure to practice sanitation if you're going to share.
Step 3: You get on the ergometer or roller or turbo trainer. Your warmup for 10-20 minutes of gentle pedalling. You increase effort gradually in 2-4 minute increments.
Step 4: You prick your ear/finger every 2-4 minute increments. Once your measurements hit roughly 4.0 mmol/L of lactate, then you know you've hit your lactate threshold.
Step 5: You look at your power output when you are at 4.0 mmol/L of lactate.
Step 6: Apply the %LTHR zones which are freely and widely available online.
Step 7: Re-test every week or two weeks, depending on how quickly you are ramping up your current training cycle.

This whole process is cheap, extremely easy and if you have friends, it can be something you do every week on a consistent basis. What, you're afraid of pricking your finger? Unfit diabetic children and grannies do this every single day. There are other ways of testing your lactate threshold, but I'm just talking abou the most commonly used method.

And why settle for "good enough" when you can have an exact measurement of your lactate simply by pressing a button?

p.s. Just to add, most people are suprised at how low their lactate thresholds are (relative to HR) when they are first tested, and how often they are doing threshold level workouts. They have just become accustomed to functioning with heavy, tired lactate filled legs and think it's normal (hence they stagnate since they don't ever really fully recover and adapt). Racers unfortunately have to deal with this for most of the season due to the scheduling demands (at least until they peak for their key event), but amateurs don't face this same neary impossible pressure to try to gain fitness while fitting in weekly races and fighting off unsustainable levels of fatigue and overuse (hence why they need "off-seasons" to recover).
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AJS914
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by AJS914

I've read a lot about training in the last year but rarely do you hear about amateurs doing lactate threshold testing. You certainly hear about pros doing lab testing. I think I read about one pro doing roadside lactate testing with his coach. Overall though it seems rare.

Has the price of portable lactate meters come down significantly in recent years?

TheRich
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by TheRich

AeroObsessive wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:23 am
spartacus wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 2:04 am
FTP needs to get thrown out because it's hard to test and nobody agrees what it means or how to test it anyway. To me power curve makes sense (x watts for x minutes). Maybe if someone could make an average number based on a power curve that would be more consistent.
FTP is dead is easy to test for. Do a 40km TT. Or ride as hard as you can for an hour. Test done. Where the use of FTP gets warped is when people derive FTP as a percentage of say a 20min test.

But I agree - power curve is a better guide. Knowing lactate inflection points is even better, but not quite as easy to obtain (but not *that* hard either).
Not really. An hour or 40k TT depends too much on fitness and willpower.

For the purposes of doing short intervals a 20 minute test is fine, and it's not as if the individual can't over/underperform based on how they feel. But you're chasing the red herring that Bianchi threw out there...don't do that.

AeroObsessive
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by AeroObsessive

TheRich wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 1:53 am

Not really. An hour or 40k TT depends too much on fitness and willpower.
That's exactly why I use them for testing athletes. Why be an endurance athlete unless you want to endure?

TheRich
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by TheRich

AeroObsessive wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:34 am
TheRich wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 1:53 am

Not really. An hour or 40k TT depends too much on fitness and willpower.
That's exactly why I use them for testing athletes. Why be an endurance athlete unless you want to endure?
That's not really an FTP test then, although I don't disagree with you using those measurements for evaluating riders.

AeroObsessive
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by AeroObsessive

TheRich wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:01 am
AeroObsessive wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:34 am
TheRich wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 1:53 am

Not really. An hour or 40k TT depends too much on fitness and willpower.
That's exactly why I use them for testing athletes. Why be an endurance athlete unless you want to endure?
That's not really an FTP test then, although I don't disagree with you using those measurements for evaluating riders.
Time was it was *the* FTP test...
https://www.google.com/amp/s/wattmatter ... format=amp

iheartbianchi
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by iheartbianchi

AJS914 wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:11 pm
I've read a lot about training in the last year but rarely do you hear about amateurs doing lactate threshold testing. You certainly hear about pros doing lab testing. I think I read about one pro doing roadside lactate testing with his coach. Overall though it seems rare.

Has the price of portable lactate meters come down significantly in recent years?
You rarely read about it because 1) HR training has been "good enough" for decades, and 2) despite the advances in the technology, the amateur coaching industry has gone all in on FTP.

Portable finger prickers can be had for under $500. If you're not comfortable pricking your finger, there are wearable masks that can measure lactate as well but I don't know how much those cost. Imagine if the amateur coaching industry had adopted lactate testing instead of this FTP idea, how different things would look now.

For whatever it's worth, I am very skeptical of recommending lactate testing for amateurs, for exactly the same reason why I don't recommend power meters for amateurs. In order for a power meter to be useful for its intended purposes, you need regular and reliable testing for lactate, Vo2Max and respiratory rates to set appropriate baselines and training margins. This is extreme overkill for an amateur. Heart rate monitors are more than good and accurate enough for amateurs.

Now if you really want to use a power meter, either as an assessment tool or pacing tool, then you need to carefully look at your HR and also know where your HR/lactate threshold and to a lesser extent, Vo2Max is relative to your power outputs. FTP is pure guesswork (and inaccurate at that), so if you're going to buy a power meter and start guessing, why even bother with a power meter in the first place.
Last edited by iheartbianchi on Tue Jul 09, 2019 6:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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iheartbianchi
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by iheartbianchi

TheRich wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:01 am

That's not really an FTP test then, although I don't disagree with you using those measurements for evaluating riders.
The FTP test has been controversial from the start. Allen basically from the start was calling for a ramp test before the FTP test. Coggan disagreed with this. Now it seems the ramp test is being required, although now the duration of the ramp test differs from what Allen had called for.
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jasjas
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by jasjas

FTP is pretty easy to understand surely? and so long as whatever test you use is consistant, then it can be tracked and used as a training metric.

As for the Polarised approach for the more time crunched rider, i'm not convinced, i believe in specificity and riding in the mountains on back to back 1hr cols, i just dont see that 8 to 10hrs of LSD and then a few 10 or 15mins at Tempo is going to cut it,
What i found is that on less challenging terrain, i was quick but not in the mountains, where i felt i was lacking compared to SST plans i've followed before, however, i was coming back from a serious injury, so its a difficult one to access, i did complete the event whre many didn't including one death :(

If i were to follow this plan again, i'd do more, much more tempo z3 work, because thats what you are working at on a 15km 7 to 10% climb, descend and repeat.....either that or go part time and do 20hr weeks of riding lol!

Not sure of the relevance to cycling Kenyan runners are?

AeroObsessive
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by AeroObsessive

^ yes, some people have used/use a very heavy zone 3/grey zone/tempo (whatever nomenclature you're using), and yielded fantastic results from it.

Other have used it for a while and flatlined, and declined horribly. Comes down to what you can recover from and consequently adapt to. Almost like... training needs to be suited to the individual 😏

AeroObsessive
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by AeroObsessive

iheartbianchi wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 6:35 am
You rarely read about it because 1) HR training has been "good enough" for decades, and 2) despite the advances in the technology, the amateur coaching industry has gone all in on FTP.

1) maybe because HR monitors are cheaper and were more readily available for longer than power meters? How long have power meter been a realistic option for the masses? 10 years, just?
2) uh huh.
Now if you really want to use a power meter, either as an assessment tool or pacing tool, then you need to carefully look at your HR and also know where your HR/lactate threshold and to a lesser extent, Vo2Max is relative to your power outputs.
No, you don't *need* it. But it's useful data, along with all the other stuff we can collect.
FTP is pure guesswork (and inaccurate at that), so if you're going to buy a power meter and start guessing, why even bother with a power meter in the first place.
Because you haven't researched (or refuse to acknowledge) all the ways the tool can be used. But keep spinning that narrative. :thumbup:

buzzcock
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by buzzcock

Why would not a LIT focused approach work at lower hours?

Let me quote a couple studies. In the published case studies of the most decorated Norwegian XC skiing champs (espes. Marit Björgen: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10 ... 01069/full & Bente Skari in Seiler's presentations: https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... 5/download) there are a couple interesting things to be found. Namely, there is an over-the-career tendency where, because of a change in the training philosophy during the 1990s in Skari's case and because of stagnation in Björgen's case the athlete a) decreases MIT and HIT relatively but sometimes also absolutely and b) increases LIT and lifting. As a result, VO2max increases thanks to more LIT, as do fractional utilization measured in power at the second threshold, probably thanks to the concurrent lifting and endurance. Overall the distribution of endurance training was roughly 90+% LIT, and 3-5% MIT & 5-7% HIT, respectively.

Mind you, Xc skiing competitions are roughly 3min sprint races and endurance races of 20-120min, so high intensity. The time trial endurance races are constant max efforts, though paced, but still full gas. Mass starts are like very rough intermittent sessions, a bit like the final hour in the classic bike races, often decided in bouts of 20-30sec where very high outputs are required. Yet the top athletes clock 800hrs of LIT per year, year after year. Clearly it is not just junk. Similar pattern is observed in Norwegian champion skiers in general (see: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/artic ... ne.0101796).

Interesting reads these, BTW. Not a lot of fancy stuff there. Just loads of disciplined work and, yes, winning.

In a study by Munoz, 4hrs / wk polarised got amateur distance runners to handsomely sub 40min 10km, some substantially under (say 37min30sec for those who performed their LIT at the lowest intensity). Not world beaters, but not bad either.

I am not saying that this automatically translates to the ability to climb well at threshold, as was mentioned above. But physiologically or let's say bioenergetically I see no reason why the foundations to climb well could not be attained by a LIT-led focus.

And yes, FTP does not bode too well as a surrogate of MLSS / the upper threshold when assessed in studies, very much agreed. But I must say that the power duration curve or critical power *might* become a future contestant of MLSS, as it is being pinned to physiological phenomena as we speak.

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