Lactate Testing for Cyclists - Get the competitive edge
I run a business on the Gold Coast testing the fitness and physical characteristics of cyclists. I have a preference for blood lactate tests over VO2 and I am often asked why. Here is a simple(ish) answer:
Lactate levels show the degree to which a rider is relying on anaerobic energy supply (we are always using both aerobic and anaerobic, only the "fuel mix" varies). Even below threshold lactate levels can be elevated, indicating inefficient aerobic pathways. A rider may feel fine but in reality be very close to their lactate threshold. How quickly lactate levels rise after threshold has been reached indicates how effectively aerobic pathways continue to function at very high (race) intensities. If a rider has a near complete and immediate shift to anaerobic energy supply, he or she will blow very quickly. The higher the lactate levels, the faster you are using your energy stores (glycogen), this is why some riders run low on fuel before others.
I call this a lactate profile and it has 3 parts; 1. lactate levels below threshold, 2. Threshold power and 3. Lactate rise above threshold. All of these physiological responses can be improved through training. Once this is established a rider can be given specific training loads to target the weak areas. The key is, a rider must know the numbers before the training can be planned effectively.
That's why I use lactate testing.
Know Your Numbers, Train Smart, Race Hard.
Brian Bubba Cooke
Exercise Physiologist, coach & cycling tragic for 30 years. Love the freedom, reward and sense of achievement that one can only experience in our amazing sport.