Have a Heart - Page 3
Unfortunately there's no way to measure your LT from the couch, which is why so many people don't know theirs. You've got to go out and suck some wind. You could, of course, do what the pros do and have blood drawn during your exercise sessions to measure the lactate in your blood, but I'll assume you'll pass on that level of detail and expense. You also have a different LT for each activity. So you may have a different LT for trail running than you do cycling. This not only means you have to do the LT test for each sport, but that you'll have different training zones for each sport.
Luckily, the way you perform the test is identical for most endurance sports, or at least for running and cycling, which are far and away where HRT is used the most. It's really not as complicated as it seems and the benefits of this type of training sure outweigh the minor challenge it is to determine all these zones.
To determine your LT for trail running, perform a 30-minute time trial on a relatively flat course. Here's how:
- Warm up for 15 minutes and during the last five minutes do a few 30-second sprints to get your heart rate up. For the test, your goal is to maintain the hardest pace possible for 30 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, if your heart-rate monitor has a "lap" function, press that lap button to get an average heart rate over the remaining 20 minutes of the test. If you don't have a lap function, take a reading every minute and do the average yourself. A treadmill and a training partner are helpful in this situation. Remember that you want to end the trial without a whole lot left in the tank. Really push yourself.
- That's it! Your LT is your average heart rate over the last 20 minutes.
What are the training zones?
Now that you know your LT, you can now figure out your training zones. Then you'll know exactly what heart rate (HR) you should be training at for a variety of goals. Following are the training zones based on your LT:
Zone 1: Recovery Zone—65 to 85 percent
Zone 2: Extensive Endurance—85 to 90 percent
Zone 3: Intensive Endurance—90 to 95 percent
Zone 4 -5a: Lactate Threshold—95 to 102 percent
Zone 5b/5c: Power Training—102 to 110 percent
For example, if your LT was 160, your Zone 2 HR would be 136 to144 (160 multiplied by .85 and .90).
Now, you can tailor your workouts to your goals. To build your aerobic capacity and train yourself for endurance over speed, keep your HR in zones 1 or 2.
Zone 3 isn't low intensity enough to build your aerobic base and not really high intensity enough to effectively build speed or increase your LT. If you find yourself in this zone, either speed up or slow down, depending on your goal, to get to zone 2 or 4.
Zone 4 is the sweet spot to increase your LT and gain speed over mid-distance events.
To build pure speed in the form of sprints, get to zone 5.