Monday, 20 October 2008

Lactate Threshold

On Sunday I did another lap of the old Ironman bike course. This seems to be my normal cycling route at the moment, though I do need to start increasing the length of my long rides. My long rides don't seem to take as much out of me as they did but they don't seem to be getting much faster.

In an effort to be a bit more scientific about my training I did a lactate threshold test on the bike last weekend. The test was one described in "Going Long" by Joe Friel and Gordon Byrn, my current reading material. It was a 30 minute time trial with the lactate threshold being calculated as the average heart rate for the last 20 minutes. This worked out as 163BPM for me. Using this figure as a base I aimed to keep my heart rate quite a bit lower than I have been aiming for recently. This meant I was a bit slower for this route than I been but I felt much better for it, I think I have been going too hard and not training in the correct zone.

An advantage of going slightly slower is that it leaves me with more energy to concentrate on other things, one of which is my posture on the bike. I have not been through a proper bike fitting process and I am not convinced the bike is set-up quite right for me. I have yet to find a decent way to do this without paying far more than I want at a bike shop. One problem that I have been having is lower back pain after a couple of hours riding. On this long ride though I paid more attention to my posture and realised I was slumping down in the saddle. My hips are rotating backwards while I slouch forward, this seems to happen more when I am putting in harder effort, up hills for example. So I am trying to make a concious effort to keep my back straight and maintain a better posture. It seemed to help on this ride as I felt much better at the end of the ride than I have for the last couple.

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