Training Tip? Who needs a training tip this time of the season? Most of us are nearing or have already ended our race season, or if you are one of those with a few races left most of your fitness gains should be pretty much accomplished. Of course there are a few of you who might have a late Oct race or into November so my training tip to you is do less for more. Cut back on the volume and keep up with the intensity. For the rest of us, fall/winter is a wonderful time to take a break from the rigors of the routine of “training”. Our bodies need a break from all that structure and demand. This is the time to go out on your mountain bike, go for a hike or trail run, leaving your heart rate monitor at home. Don’t count miles, don’t count laps, and don’t count calories. Go out with all those friends and family you can never do anything with because you are always “training”. Start “funning” Sleep in. Read a book. Drink a beer or glass of wine on the deck and enjoy a leisurely evening with your significant other. Get creative with your meals; put an apron on instead of your running shoes and find a gourmet dinner recipe to cook. Play and have fun with the kids, ride your bike with the kids. Don’t worry about logging into your log book. Do something productive, get that chore done that has been bugging you since last spring yet you just couldn’t find time because you only had time to sneak in a run. Find a new sport to try, paddle boarding, canoeing or kayaking, cross country skiing, snow shoeing, back country skiing, basketball, volleyball. There is a lot more to do out there and more “fun” to be had than to swim, ride and run!!!!! Then come the first of the year you will be fired up to get back on task and prepare for the upcoming season. First of the year is always a good stepping on point; we always seem to set New Years’ goals anyways. And the first of the year is a great starting point to begin training for the World’s Toughest Half, the International, Sprint or Mini!!!!.
This next season take a different approach to “training”. This next season get more for your buck so to speak with your “training”. This next season train with more purpose and with more efficiency by using a very valuable tool, a heart rate monitor or power meter. Many of you may have one or both of these monitors but maybe you really have never used them effectively or know how.
A lactate threshold test can determine both, heart rate and or power zones (for the bike if you have a power meter), for both the run and bike. Going into your Base period, beginning of your training season, is a great time to get a baseline test. This baseline test assesses your current fitness, finds your lactate threshold from which your training zones are calculated. I find that during the Base period, people tend to work too hard to really develop their aerobic foundation which is vital for the more intense key workouts they will be doing in the Build period, for races and for recovery. I have had to tell many a client, “Do not go over this aerobic heart rate zone!!!!” and they complain that it is too slow!!!!. Too slow is because they are used to going too fast. You don’t want to be going too fast at the wrong time of your training season because you then won’t achieve the physiological benefits that Base training is supposed to provide. Each training period, each workout and each training zone has a physiological purpose. Using training zones helps with achieving that purpose.
Many people get stuck in the one zone, they go out and every workout is the same intensity, just hard enough that it feels like a workout, but not too hard that it’s not uncomfortable. Some people workout too easy and never work hard enough and then some work too hard and never easy enough. You need to have a big difference between your easy days and your hard days. Knowing your training zones will help you define easy, moderate and hard days and will provide you with better fitness gains. Further into your season you test again and hope to see an improvement on your threshold, or to see that you are now faster or more powerful at lower heart rates than at baseline. Then you know your training is working, if no improvement you would then want to re-evaluate your current training program.
For more information on lactate threshold testing, go to www.tahoepeakendurance.com. This sports performance test is valuable not only for sports performance gains for the elite athletes but also for the recreational athlete and is also very valuable for just improving one’s fitness. Stay tuned for more training tips on Lactate Threshold and Lactate Threshold Testing.