Monday, June 1, 2009

Lactate Testing and Finding LT by Matt Liebsch

Matt Liebsch is a member of the CXC Elite cross country ski team and a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a BS in Electrical Engineering. He is an Olympic hopeful and had a very successful 2009 season… 3rd Place at US Nationals, Mora Vasaloppet winner and American Birkebeiner Champion. When Matt is not training and racing he is helping out at Gear West or spending time with his wife and one-year-old son.

The past Tuesday I meet up with my good friend and club coach, Piotr Bednarski, for some baseline lactate testing. I had already V02max tested with my program coach Bryan Fish, but I wanted to check some lactates to make sure everything matched up and get my training zones squared away.

The protocol we used involved skate skiing up the 3-5min hill along East River Road which goes underneath East Franklin Street. Every time I rollerskied up the hill I would try to bump up my heart rate into the next perceived training zone. Here are my results.



















After discussing the results with Piotr, we were able to nail down my current training zones. There are a lot of theories on defining training zones but the most important point to know is your lactate threshold (LT). LT is the pace at which accumulation of lactate acid matches the bodies ability to remove it from the body… this LT zone is usually the pace one could hold for about a 1hr all out effort. Lactate threshold is usually right around 4mM for most individuals but can vary in between 2.5mM and 6mM for some people. Based on this test data, my LT zone would be between 164-166 BPM (a little lower than normal but hey, its spring time and I have not be training a ton of intensity yet). It is important to remember that LT is different for each exercise so my LT could be higher or lower depending on whether I was double polling, running, biking, swimming or striding. Now that I know my LT zone I can training at my LT pace and make solid gains. I find that LT training gives me the most "bang-for-the-buck" with regards to fitness gains. A favorite workout of mine is 3by15min at LT; with proper warm-up and cool-down of course.

If you're interested in having a lactate profil done contact Piotr via

Train hard, train smart


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