Today’s bike test went better than I expected. I’ve explained the process and purpose of lactate testing in previous posts (here, and here). Anticipating the assessments always makes me anxious and I tend to look for reasons to cancel them. Rather than run from the discomfort, I changed how I viewed the test. Instead of a reason to postpone, I thought of reasons to approach it with vigor and give my all. After all, the best way to improve is to have a clear understanding of where you are in the present.
The process is the same every time. I warm up on the bike trainer for about 20 minutes. After that, Johnny calibrates the power meter and my power pedals and we begin. This time I chose to stay in the aero position and test out my new bike fit setup. I also focused on belly breathing while maintaining a cadence of 80rpm.
Both the lactate threshold (LT) and the individual anaerobic threshold (IAT) remained about the same compared to last year which is disappointing. I prefer to see improvements in both of these metrics. What surprised me, however, was my ability to push more watts for longer. Today, I completed the stage where I held 310 watts for 3 minutes, a personal best. In the lactate-to-Performance Curve above, the dotted line of my previous assessment shows that the maximum blood lactate measured was about 6 mmol/L. Today, I reached a personal best blood lactate level of 9.10 mmol/L. I aim to achieve a lactate level between 10-12 mmol/L. Getting closer to that level requires a combination of improved fueling (not being carb depleted), rest, and mental toughness (a willingness to feel the burn). At 9 mmol/L my legs were burning, my heart rate was high and I was breathing very hard by the time I got to this stage. I really wanted to stop, but I kept pushing because I could. The whole point is to push until failure.
Today was a success and bolstered my confidence as I prepare to race Ironman 70.3 Eagleman.