Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The AT test trial 1

What does AT stand for? AT = anaerobic threshold. Loosely defined it means the point at which lactic acid accumulates in the bloodstream faster than can be removed reaching a lactic acid threshold. What does this have to do with anything? If you go beyond your AT during an endurance race it will sap your muscles, make you tired, cramps, etc. So the idea is to train with the AT in mind to increase your tolerance for lactic acid and make you more efficient at dealing with the lactic acid which basically means you can go faster and harder at a higher level of effort without hitting your AT. That is super simplified, FYI, so read more on the web if you want a true definition!

Yesterday I decided I should try and add a bit of science in to my training program. I've had the computer which is easily capable of participating in this game for a few months now and have definitely not even touched on it's fancy abilities. Now I just need the strategy and focus. The good ol' Internet is a great place to peruse the plethora of *free* information in regards to training plans, testing, and recommended types of training.

So this morning I pedaled my way to Central Park basically warming up along the way and gradually picking up my pace. When I hit CP, I dropped the hammer and pedaled my butt off for 30 minutes at about the highest pace I could maintain without failing for 30 to 60 minutes. By monitoring the heart rate, one can estimate the AT at the end of the time trial. Central Park is not ideal, but it's the best I can get for now without dropping $175 at Cadence Cycle. I suppose I could use the indoor trainer, and I probably will have to do that at some point to see if the results are similar, but for now I'm satisfied.

My results showed an average heart rate of 88% of the maximum heart rate setting in the computer which is probably not my true heart rate but pretty close. Using fancy math I was able to determine an AT of 166bpm. Using even more fancy math I created zones to train in depending on what I want to accomplish on any given ride. Zone 1 would be a very easy recovery ride and on up to zone 5 which is more than 100% of the AT which works on the VO2 max (a whole other topic.) Zone 3 (75-85% of the AT) is the happy zone which I will spend many, many, many hours in over the next few months.

Boring you yet? I'm almost done.

So in goes the data to the Polar cs200 WITH cadence! Now I get to be beeped at telling me to pick up the pace or slow down. Tomorrow morning will be the first trial run with the fancy new beeps and %'s telling me what to do and when. I'm pretty sure it will be irritating but hopefully beneficial!

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