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Would you get a lactate threshold & VO2 max test?

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  • On the subject of value. A couple of years ago I had a test done in Trinity that cost 60 euros. I had the treadmill test that gave me my lactate levels my vot max as my weight height and body fat percentage. Also included was a full blood work results on the day including some values that my gp would not check. The blood work alone would cost 50 euro at the gp and the results take 10 days to 2 weeks.. It was a fantastic experience, I learned loads despite the fact that I assumed I knew it all. To me it was very good value but it depends on your point of view.




  • pconn062 wrote: »
    Ah lads it's an interesting thread, let's not ruin it over something silly.


    Agreed and in fairness WG did give context by citing the 2:30 marathon threshold. I would actually be of that view myself to some degree. These days im reluctant to fork out €60 on a pair if runners never mind a lactate test.
    Id also be of the opinion that an athlete would be better advised to fully develop his aerobic conditioning over many years before worrying too much about exact LT values. If youre used to running big mileages over mant sub threshold and threshold paces youll have a fair idea of it and you can judge these paces by feel, which is of far greater value. If youre at a stage where slight variances in effort are now the biggest tools for improvement (ie very advanced) then away you go. If I ever have a few quid to spare then maybe some day for curiosity.
    Otherwise time wasted (In My opinion)




  • demfad wrote: »
    Agreed and in fairness WG did give context by citing the 2:30 marathon threshold. I would actually be of that view myself to some degree. These days im reluctant to fork out €60 on a pair if runners never mind a lactate test.
    Id also be of the opinion that an athlete would be better advised to fully develop his aerobic conditioning over many years before worrying too much about exact LT values. If youre used to running big mileages over mant sub threshold and threshold paces youll have a fair idea of it and you can judge these paces by feel, which is of far greater value. If youre at a stage where slight variances in effort are now the biggest tools for improvement (ie very advanced) then away you go. If I ever have a few quid to spare then maybe some day for curiosity.
    Otherwise time wasted (In My opinion)


    Again, why repeat this arbitrary number? Why 2.30? Can you give me the reasoning behind this and how this figure/standard is obtained? Why not 2.20 or 2.52:23?

    60 euro for blood/Vo2 max testing sounds fairly good value to me.




  • demfad wrote: »
    Agreed and in fairness WG did give context by citing the 2:30 marathon threshold. I would actually be of that view myself to some degree. These days im reluctant to fork out €60 on a pair if runners never mind a lactate test.
    Id also be of the opinion that an athlete would be better advised to fully develop his aerobic conditioning over many years before worrying too much about exact LT values. If youre used to running big mileages over mant sub threshold and threshold paces youll have a fair idea of it and you can judge these paces by feel, which is of far greater value. If youre at a stage where slight variances in effort are now the biggest tools for improvement (ie very advanced) then away you go. If I ever have a few quid to spare then maybe some day for curiosity.
    Otherwise time wasted (In My opinion)

    Great thread this (When on topic).

    I was actually going to cite you as one of the 2:30 lads around here. So in that context your above reply is very interesting. Also knowing that you're a bit of a running nerd (and I mean that in the best way... someone who will wade into the deep end of training theory) I'm actually a little surprised to see you say that.

    I've never done an LT test, but this thread has increased my interest in getting one done. I absolutely agree with WG and yourself on the importance of being highly self-aware of one's own pacing abilities, both for effective training, but much more importantly for effective racing. But if an LT test could add to that self-awareness then it has potential to be a very valuable use of a mere 60 quid! I'd be very wary of getting tied up in paralysis by analysis, and letting the numbers get in the way of racing effectiveness though.

    (I'm not a sub-2:30 marathoner, but I'd generally be above average in any ultra race in the world)




  • demfad wrote: »
    Agreed and in fairness WG did give context by citing the 2:30 marathon threshold. I would actually be of that view myself to some degree. These days im reluctant to fork out €60 on a pair if runners never mind a lactate test.
    Id also be of the opinion that an athlete would be better advised to fully develop his aerobic conditioning over many years before worrying too much about exact LT values. If youre used to running big mileages over mant sub threshold and threshold paces youll have a fair idea of it and you can judge these paces by feel, which is of far greater value. If youre at a stage where slight variances in effort are now the biggest tools for improvement (ie very advanced) then away you go. If I ever have a few quid to spare then maybe some day for curiosity.
    Otherwise time wasted (In My opinion)

    Again, I'm not sure what a 2.30 marathon has to do with it. I'm a 1500m runner so the relevance of a marathon time means little to me.
    Where I find HR to be useful is when working with a coach. I was working with a coach who used HR values when setting session efforts, and it was a way for him to track progress and see how the sessions went. Again for €60, it seemed like good info to have for minimum price. Now I coach some runners and I have them train with HR on their easy/MP/LT days and sessions and I can view exactly how they reacted to the effort, and can track progress over the course of a training block.

    Regarding an athlete developing their aerobic condition, I agree this is important. But if the athlete is running all their easy runs and sessions too fast and breaking down, then they will never fully develop their potential. HR can be used as a means of tracking this and reigning it in.


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  • I did the test today in trinity as it happens. Found it very informative even if there was so much information to take in I'm still trying to understand it and figure out how best to use it. All in all between the treadmill test, blood tests, debrief I was there for almost 2.5 hours. Money well spent if you ask me and a lot of interesting outputs for me to work with and work on.




  • Has anyone made any drastic changes to their training as result of vo2 max, or lactate testing.




  • Has anyone made any drastic changes to their training as result of vo2 max, or lactate testing.

    I have I suppose, easy days are now really easy and within a controlled HR zone. Some days that might be 7.20 pace, others it could be 8.30 pace. Makes no odds to me so long as I get the run in. Also I incorporated much more steady marathon pace and LT sessions into my plan, as the results showed I was really lacking in that area. I have always had plenty of speed but the high end aerobic conditioning was always lacking.




  • pconn062 wrote: »
    Again, I'm not sure what a 2.30 marathon has to do with it. I'm a 1500m runner so the relevance of a marathon time means little to me.
    Where I find HR to be useful is when working with a coach. I was working with a coach who used HR values when setting session efforts, and it was a way for him to track progress and see how the sessions went. Again for €60, it seemed like good info to have for minimum price. Now I coach some runners and I have them train with HR on their easy/MP/LT days and sessions and I can view exactly how they reacted to the effort, and can track progress over the course of a training block.

    Regarding an athlete developing their aerobic condition, I agree this is important. But if the athlete is running all their easy runs and sessions too fast and breaking down, then they will never fully develop their potential. HR can be used as a means of tracking this and reigning it in.

    I mentioned 2:30 mainly to state that WG had given context in his posts. Obviously differs for different specialities and is quite general. If youre at your limit of what you can achieve given your current training tools then new tools may become valuable.
    I agree completely that the HR stuff needs to come with the expertise and coaching. The lactate test alone wont achieve this.
    I agree that your methods will be successful for your runners. I use the HR strap occasionally to make sure I run my easy runs hard enough. When Im on high mileage they can sometimes be under 130HR (max is 215).
    I have also used it in the past, on one base building block to slowly increment the efforts of my subthreshold runs. Ive never used it for LT runs though although I have worn a strap out of interest. All this was done independently of the LT test though.
    Enduro wrote: »
    Great thread this (When on topic).

    I was actually going to cite you as one of the 2:30 lads around here. So in that context your above reply is very interesting. Also knowing that you're a bit of a running nerd (and I mean that in the best way... someone who will wade into the deep end of training theory) I'm actually a little surprised to see you say that.

    I've never done an LT test, but this thread has increased my interest in getting one done. I absolutely agree with WG and yourself on the importance of being highly self-aware of one's own pacing abilities, both for effective training, but much more importantly for effective racing. But if an LT test could add to that self-awareness then it has potential to be a very valuable use of a mere 60 quid! I'd be very wary of getting tied up in paralysis by analysis, and letting the numbers get in the way of racing effectiveness though.

    (I'm not a sub-2:30 marathoner, but I'd generally be above average in any ultra race in the world)

    For me the use of any new tools is the advantage of an added stimulus to my training. I think your mind (your as in your mind specifically Enduro) is possibly your strongest asset and you can consistently focus on extensive targeted training over periods of months and years. I'm not so lucky and I need to be regularly shifting the method in order to keep that vital consistency going. IOW you absolutely need a strong mind to guide the training and mine needs to be humoured to make the cut. That was the big use of HR stuff for me...a new angle..a new lease of life to a mind getting stale. In other words If I don't vary the mind food, training will suffer in quantity, quality and committed application. Knowing my actual LT HR doesn't interste me. It wouldn't change my training that much. If it gave me a few montsh of enthusiastic training when in a rut then yes, well worth it.
    Sometimes these new angles give me a session, or a method that works for me and I keep. Sometimes not.

    What looks useful for me or anyone in my situation ....a possibility of 2:30 but getting close to potential now (and getting older)...is the LT testing in- session.
    Id consider buying one of those machines in order to aid a sub 2:30 attempt. Knowing definitively if you are 'fast' or 'slow' for a marathon is a piece of knowledge that is priceless when near potential after 'general' marathon training. E.G Are you a 10k specialist or a 60k specialist is what I mean? If the former then marathon pace is not an issue (if run at true race day marathon effort) , but holding the pace for 42k should be an issue. These runners might see a fade at the latter part of the race. The endurance type runner (like yourself) would see no fade but would be limited by pace.
    Obviously if someone forced you to race a city marathon now in a fast time (at gun point) you would instinctively work on speed.
    Im not so sure about myself. If one of those LT in session tests told me that I was a 10k guy, or a 5k guy then Id know I would need to give some of my inbetweeny fastish muscle fibres more aerobic qualities. I believe that means long fast steady runs to tire out the slow fibres and then force the fast fibres to run at a fast-steady aerobic pace.
    If I knew this for certain, as well as being all over the correct sessions, I would get that burst of mental energy/excitement. That would engender belief. And you know yourself, if you believe........
    Now that would be useful! (for me at least)




  • Again, why repeat this arbitrary number? Why 2.30? Can you give me the reasoning behind this and how this figure/standard is obtained? Why not 2.20 or 2.52:23?

    60 euro for blood/Vo2 max testing sounds fairly good value to me.

    As ive said in a previous post runners (at that general level) in most cases will have maxed out their aerobic conditioning or close to it. If they haven't maxed this out then bigger gains can be made here. Otherwise they are looking for new angles. a €60 euro test giving them an LT HR will not give them that angle alone. They will need the expertise to go with it.

    If you do that test, you may get inspired into a bout of sustained base training for example. That's good, the test has acted as a stimulus.

    For the vast majority of 'average' runners, myself included obviously, a couple of hours thoroughly self searching and examining exactly what is required to improve will reap much more benefits. The better the base the better distance runner IMO.

    For what its worth, Id advise you to take that test, but €60 wont buy you the expertise to make it useful to you. Enduro's phrase of self-awareness would be the most compelling argument I see for it.

    You don't have to agree with my opinions but you must allow me to have them.


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  • I agree with a lot of points on both sides of the debate and I think most of us do but I have to go back to why have all the tools at your disposal of you can instead of building a collection as you go along?

    Yes, all the other factors are important such as aerobic conditioning etc etc that have been mentioned but just because you haven't maxed out those doesn't mean that a Lactate test doesn't hold as much value when determining zones, if you can improve your training, what's the problem in doing so if you wish? I don't get it. I get what people are saying about most will likely see big gains from aerobic development but why can't a Lactate test be used in tandem to help with that? Sure, It might be a little more complicated than simply going out and just running but something I see everywhere is people running every type of run too fast. Running too fast will also have an effect on how well you can develop aerobically. They may never know that because it takes years of experience and actually looking for patterns and information to find out, if you don't have the knowledge, why not go to someone who actually does and can help you decipher it just like we have coaches to help with our training or accountants to help with the books? Should we only get a coach when we reach a certain level? It's the same argument at the heart of it. Why not have all the tools you can from early on to help you get to that level in the first place?




  • conavitzky wrote: »
    The person was told that it was early stage overtraining. Would be interested in reading some research papers on the same if available. Have scoured the interweb to no avail.

    Didn't find much myself online bar the lactate curve moves right.
    IT's all relative to the athletes actual LT level I guess?
    Thinking about it again, The high level before may have been caused by something like over enthusiastic striding. If he was able to lower the blood lactate that quickly in a session surely he would have flushed his blood out in the days since his last?




  • I had lactate tests done when I was working with another coach. Huge eye opener for me, especially in relation to easy or recovery runs how I really wasn't doing them right when going by feel.

    I was always very 'old school' in my approach to training - just go out and run. Run hard on hard days, run easy on easy days....and then run some more :P
    I don't necessarily train to it anymore, but knowing your HR zones can be extremely helpful for looking at after a session to know if you did actually train hard enough, or to explain why a session is feeling so hard, can be a good indicator to you over doing it/being on the brink of running yourself down.

    Whatever about hard runs, it is definitely good to know your zones so that you can keep the easy runs easy, I would bet that not one of us here is disciplined enough to truly do that. What feels easy, often is not easy at all - I've run myself down by smashing through 'easy' runs when confidence was high and then ruining all my good training.

    In respect of the hard sessions, one place where knowing your zones can come in handy are when you're coming back from injury/being sick/a bit unfit/just tired etc and getting frustrated by the slower pace, you can take a look at your HR's and see you're hitting them.

    I think it's definitely worth having, but, what works for some, may not work for others - having it in the background can help you analyse what is going right/wrong with your training so you can adjust it.




  • El Caballo wrote: »
    I agree with a lot of points on both sides of the debate and I think most of us do but I have to go back to why have all the tools at your disposal of you can instead of building a collection as you go along?

    Yes, all the other factors are important such as aerobic conditioning etc etc that have been mentioned but just because you haven't maxed out those doesn't mean that a Lactate test doesn't hold as much value when determining zones, if you can improve your training, what's the problem in doing so if you wish? I don't get it. I get what people are saying about most will likely see big gains from aerobic development but why can't a Lactate test be used in tandem to help with that? Sure, It might be a little more complicated than simply going out and just running but something I see everywhere is people running every type of run too fast. Running too fast will also have an effect on how well you can develop aerobically. They may never know that because it takes years of experience and actually looking for patterns and information to find out, if you don't have the knowledge, why not go to someone who actually does and can help you decipher it just like we have coaches to help with our training or accountants to help with the books? Should we only get a coach when we reach a certain level? It's the same argument at the heart of it. Why not have all the tools you can from early on to help you get to that level in the first place?

    I'm not advising people not to go out and use these tools. They should work away, the new tool will give them a motivational stimulus at least.
    You don't need a HRM to gauge correct pace though. A watch and RPE is enough to calibrate.

    You say that something you see everywhere is people running every run too fast which must interfere with aerobic development. I would look at it differently. If their training is sustainable then the source of the problem is not running too fast, it is most likely not running enough miles. Sustainably increasing their mileage will automatically reduce the average pace and pace of sessions. Most of the gains come from overall volume of work. The gains will keep coming if there is constant sustainable upward pressure in volume for that individual. When that point is reached intensity will naturally increase.
    A 6 month block of sustainably increasing their bodies ability to work will have a significantly greater impact on their ability to train than tinkering around with HRs on relatively low mileages for that time. If you don't have that knowledge, your not likely to find it in trinity. If you do have that knowledge and have developed to a high level, sure you need to go searching for new 'returns'.
    Also, if a runner cannot commit to higher work load he/she will get the 'new toy' motivation as well as gains by tweaking paces sure.




  • Very interesting read. Has anything changed in the last 4 years? Are the people that said lactate threshold was a waste of money, still of that option or have they changed their minds.

    I'm 3 years into casual running, and my times have plateaued. I want to improve. Thinking this will help, but using a guy in Galway for €120 instead.




  • The vo2 test could help you but the odds of you pushing on would be much improved by just joining an good running club instead in many cases. Vo2/lactate testing is a reasonably scientific process that requires a decent bit of discipline, fine if you're the sort of person who really enjoys that whole process, however in my view the majority of people will get on better in a good club environment where reasonably experienced coaches/clubmates will be able to speed you along the path of maximal development, by both providing you with training advice and setting you up in a good competitive motivated environment. Use the vo2 as another tool if you want, but it will rarely be the sole reason that you have stagnated.




  • Thanks Timmaay, I have previously been part of a running group, but I accually prefer going out running by myself now.
    I'm more interested in heart rate zones that you get with lactate threshold than vo2 max. I don't think you learning too much from vo2 max. I want to know at what heart rate I should be running my mostly easy runs in.
    Did you get one done?




  • RogerThis wrote: »
    Thanks Timmaay, I have previously been part of a running group, but I accually prefer going out running by myself now.
    I'm more interested in heart rate zones that you get with lactate threshold than vo2 max. I don't think you learning too much from vo2 max. I want to know at what heart rate I should be running my mostly easy runs in.
    Did you get one done?

    There are several field tests you could use which will give you a very close estimate for your LTHR and/or your Max HR. One popular field test for LTHR is Joe Friel's 30 minute test - set up a workout on your watch for 30 mins broken into 10mins + 20mins with no recovery between the intervals. Run the 30 mins as hard as you can and the average HR for the latter 20mins is your Lactate Threshold HR. Joe Friel also gives HR zones based on this test result here.

    There are other well renowned calculator to work out your zones. Two such calculators are Karvonean and 80/20 Endurance.

    It's definitely worth doing a field test rather than letting these calculators use generic data (eg. 220 - your age).

    Edited to add, I did actually get an LT test done. The results were very similar to the field test above. When I did the test it was recommended to repeat it every 6 months, I haven't bothered.




  • ariana` wrote: »
    There are several field tests you could use which will give you a very close estimate for your LTHR and/or your Max HR. One popular field test for LTHR is Joe Friel's 30 minute test - set up a workout on your watch for 30 mins broken into 10mins + 20mins with no recovery between the intervals. Run the 30 mins as hard as you can and the average HR for the latter 20mins is your Lactate Threshold HR. Joe Friel also gives HR zones based on this test result here.

    There are other well renowned calculator to work out your zones. Two such calculators are Karvonean and 80/20 Endurance.

    It's definitely worth doing a field test rather than letting these calculators use generic data (eg. 220 - your age).

    Edited to add, I did actually get an LT test done. The results were very similar to the field test above. When I did the test it was recommended to repeat it every 6 months, I haven't bothered.

    Did you end up using the LT test and changing your running style to match the results?

    I tried the LTHR this morning but I don't think I ran hard enough SIf7P8S.jpg




  • RogerThis wrote: »
    Did you end up using the LT test and changing your running style to match the results?

    I tried the LTHR this morning but I don't think I ran hard enough SIf7P8S.jpg

    I did the TT back in May and there was no question of whether I had run hard enough or not :) I could barely do a cool down walk / jog shuffle type of affair.
    I find it’s working for me. I’m back enjoying running again and by using hr I’m not killing myself every run chasing faster times. I’ve just started the 80:20 10 k plan and did a speed play run today which I really enjoyed.


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  • lulublue22 wrote: »
    I did the TT back in May and there was no question of whether I had run hard enough or not :) I could barely do a cool down walk / jog shuffle type of affair.
    I find it’s working for me. I’m back enjoying running again and by using hr I’m not killing myself every run chasing faster times. I’ve just started the 80:20 10 k plan and did a speed play run today which I really enjoyed.

    How are you doing the 80 20 plan, is it through training peaks?




  • I bought the book and am working from that. I used website to get hr zones. Book is an interesting read but the layout of the plans are not user friendly. ie not easily copied to stick up on the fridge as plans tend to go over 2 - 4 pages. Also lots of info re different types of runs. Don't want to pay for the on line version after buying the book :cool: would love to know how some one using the on line version finds it. I would recommend the book if you want to train by hr.




  • I'm reading 80/20 Running by Matt Fitzgerald at the moment, only on chapter 1.

    There are Garmin .fit files that you can download here https://www.8020endurance.com/8020-workout-library/ if you have a Garmin watch.

    https://connect.garmin.com/modern/ is down at the moment, so I haven't had a chance to play around with it.




  • RogerThis wrote: »
    I'm reading 80/20 Running by Matt Fitzgerald at the moment, only on chapter 1.

    There are Garmin .fit files that you can download here https://www.8020endurance.com/8020-workout-library/ if you have a Garmin watch.

    https://connect.garmin.com/modern/ is down at the moment, so I haven't had a chance to play around with it.

    excellent tks for that - just had a quick look all the runs I need there happy days ðŸ˜




  • I think that link leads to triathlon versions of the workouts, some of which are different to the running versions. Just to warn you - may not always match the book.




  • RogerThis wrote: »
    Thanks Timmaay, I have previously been part of a running group, but I accually prefer going out running by myself now.
    I'm more interested in heart rate zones that you get with lactate threshold than vo2 max. I don't think you learning too much from vo2 max. I want to know at what heart rate I should be running my mostly easy runs in.
    Did you get one done?

    Yes I got a lactate test myself, and I've sat in on one's with athletes I coach. Personally as a coach I'd put alot more weight on just getting your Lydiard pyramid right (balance between base/tempos/race/faster than race), alongside building training groups with a positive atmosphere and healthy level of competition, ie the psychology and social end of things, I've always got alot more bang for buck from all that rather than trying to focus too heavily on the more technical end of things with heart rates, lactates etc.


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