Saturday, 17 January 2009

Lactate Testing

On Thursday last week I had Blood Lactate Testing done at the UEA (University of East Anglia) by David Cosford.

I will be using the results in my training for heart rate calculations.

What is Lactate Testing ?

Lactate measurement is used by sport scientists, coaches and athletes to accurately determine Heart Rate training zones, recovery and much more. Lactate is a metabolic product that can be measured by taking a drop of blood at a finger tip the same way diabetics monitor their blood sugar level. The blood lactate level increases with exercise intensity and shows clearly the transition from aerobic to anaerobic activity. Since the measurement is completely individual it gives a precise method for testing and monitoring training intensity and recovery.
Lactate measurement is far more precise than the outdated and inaccurate method of using percentages of maximum heart rate to set training zones. Because heart rate is an individual response, heart rate training zones need to be determined by measurement of physiological variables not set by mathematical formulas. Lactate measurement differs from, and is complimentary to VO2 Max testing. VO2 Max is a great tool for identifying anaerobic threshold and calculating training zones. The training zones are then used to determine training intensity from recovery to max effort intervals.
Lactate Threshold testing measures the accumulation of lactate acid in the blood stream. With the proper protocols you can measure both the aerobic and anaerobic conditioning of an athlete. Because lactate is produced by the anaerobic system and used by the aerobic system it is the only marker available for measuring each system. The amount of energy an athlete can produce per unit of time depends on the development of both systems which is why they have to be balanced. (Essentially this means training the anaerobic system to a level that is appropriate for the athlete's aerobic capacity.) Basically, Lactate Testing is the best tool to determine steady state race pace.

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