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2010-02-19 3:28 PM

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Subject: VO2 Max, Lactate Threshold, and HR Questions
It's a lot for one post, but I like efficiency.  A big THANK YOU in advance for any help!

Are VO2 Max testing and Lactate Threshold testing the same thing? 
Which, if either, can tell you your HR training zones?
Which is "better," a professional test or your own test?
I just started IM training this week, is it okay to try a test since it seems I have to take some days off prior to the test?

Running and Heart Rate Questions:
The 220-age method gives me a Max HR of 182.  Thus, my 4 basic zones are the following:
Z1: 118-136
Z2: 137-156
Z3: 157-163
Z4: 164-173

- Earlier this week I biked (spin bike) then ran on a treadmill for 15 min and was able to keep my HR in Z2.
- Indoor bike trainer yesterday gave me a result in the Z2 range.
- I go out for a 30 min run today and averaged a HR of 178 with the max reached of 190.  My resting HR was 60 and within 3 minutes of running it was already in the 170's.  I wasn't panting or breathless and could hold a conversation through most of the run.

I have been running consistently at least 2 days a week through most of winter, mostly outside and are generally low to moderate efforts. 

Any ideas why my HR is so high for running?  Would a VO2 or LT test help determine whether I have a radically different HR zone for running than swimming or biking?  It always seems to be this way with running and I never seem to be able to stay in the lower zones without just speed walking.

Thanks,
Don


2010-02-19 3:33 PM
in reply to: #2682505

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Subject: RE: VO2 Max, Lactate Threshold, and HR Questions

Damn, I am really curious to see what response you get with this.  I am in the same boat.

2010-02-19 3:44 PM
in reply to: #2682505

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Subject: RE: VO2 Max, Lactate Threshold, and HR Questions
Short Answer:

Do not use 220-age
Do separate field tests for both cycing and running

YES you definately need to do these for your IM training if you want to be best prepared
No, you do not need to pay for a professional/lab test
No, they are nto the same thing.

The only thing you need to worry about is doing a "Threshold field test" for both running and cycling, then calculating yoru zones. Record them, train and restest. Getting better? Do it again. Not getting better? Hire a coach.
2010-02-19 3:52 PM
in reply to: #2682505

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Subject: RE: VO2 Max, Lactate Threshold, and HR Questions
VO2max is a measure of cardiovascular fitness and is basically how much oxygen your body utilizes during a given period of time.  Lactate Threshold (LT) is the exercise intensity (in beats per minute) at which your body begins to accumulate lactate in the blood (it produces more than it can clear).  So no, they're not the same thing.  For training zones most people here are going to tell you to do a LT test.  As for which is better, a pro test is going to be more accurate because they can take blood samples, but it's also going to cost you.  I think you can get a pretty good estimation by doing field trials a few times.  The sooner you do a test (field or professional) the sooner you can start having accurate training sessions.  

At some point in the replies somebody is going to post the old 220-age = irrelevant thread that's been floating around and educating for 5 years or so.  I'll let someone else pad their post count.  

Your HR will usually differ between running and biking at the same intensity, less so as you get more trained.  Why is it so high?  My guess is that you're basing it off of inaccurate zones.  Obviously if your max HR was 182 you wouldn't be able to get 190 right?   
2010-02-19 3:54 PM
in reply to: #2682549

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Subject: RE: VO2 Max, Lactate Threshold, and HR Questions
AdventureBear - 2010-02-19 4:44 PMShort Answer:Do not use 220-ageDo separate field tests for both cycing and runningYES you definately need to do these for your IM training if you want to be best preparedNo, you do not need to pay for a professional/lab testNo, they are nto the same thing.The only thing you need to worry about is doing a "Threshold field test" for both running and cycling, then calculating yoru zones. Record them, train and restest. Getting better? Do it again. Not getting better? Hire a coach.
What she said. I wish I could be simple and to the point. I just don't have it in me.
2010-02-19 4:07 PM
in reply to: #2682576


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Subject: RE: VO2 Max, Lactate Threshold, and HR Questions

I think it is fair and correct to say that either test is of limited utility as a single data point.  Performing either test (which quantify somewhat orthogonal variables of fitness) in regular intervals overtime will tell you how well you are training.  If what I am saying is acceptable, and is certainly what I consider true, it would lead me to suggest doing the cheapest, easiest and most repeatable test you can do.  Testing for VO2max yourself would be difficult to perform, at best.  LT threshold can be functionally measured pretty easily. 

As for the individual measures, VO2max can be rapidly affected by efforts to increase fitness, but the increase is highly limited by your own built in physical and physiological factors.  LT threshold can take years to "maximize" and while the maximum is still goverened by genetics the ceiling is much more availible to us not born athletes as long as one is willing to put in the time.



2010-02-19 5:12 PM
in reply to: #2682505

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Subject: RE: VO2 Max, Lactate Threshold, and HR Questions
your ave HR of 178 doesn't mean much do a proper LT test like people mentioned above so you can truely know what the 178 means.  170 seems high when compared to mine but then again my max is much lower then 190.  that I have seen.
2010-02-19 5:28 PM
in reply to: #2682691

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Subject: RE: VO2 Max, Lactate Threshold, and HR Questions
Some of the answers above are not quite correct.

1) VO2 max is the maximum volume of air that your body can take in and process during exercise.  Somewhere in the range of 95% of your maximum heartrate (varies by individual).  It is not necessarily how much your body utilizes during a period of time.  It is a measure of the maximum your lungs can take in during that time.  The only way to measure this accurately is in a lab.

But having a high or low VO2 max is not a true indicator of potential (unless you are at the real low or real high end of the scale).  Some of the greatest endurance athletes have had numbers 10 - 20 below people with the highest values and STILL put up better times.

2) It is in no way necessary to use HR to train.  However, if you do plan to use it (and have some very good guidance and expert levels of help to establish a training plan that accurately uses HR), then it is important as adventurebear mentioned to do the field tests to establish zones before you start training.

Having a baseline is important no matter how you train.  For my athletes that is field tests, races and time trials.  I prefer races personally (and I prefer they do not use HR monitors to train by - they can use them for their own personal data, but not to train with my plans.  There are plenty of other self-proclaimed HR training "experts" out there whether they actually know what they are doing or are just good BS'ers.  If they want to train that way, they wouldn't have come to me in the first place).  From there I will establish paces based on exactly where their fitness stands at that moment.  Throughout a training plan (or year) I will have periodic checks and alter their pace ranges accordingly.

Edited by Daremo 2010-02-19 5:29 PM
2010-02-19 5:38 PM
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Subject: RE: VO2 Max, Lactate Threshold, and HR Questions
dar89 - 2010-02-19 3:28 PM
Are VO2 Max testing and Lactate Threshold testing the same thing? 
Which, if either, can tell you your HR training zones?
Which is "better," a professional test or your own test?
I just started IM training this week, is it okay to try a test since it seems I have to take some days off prior to the test?


1. Sort of, but you get the data you need.
2. Both
3. Either, although I prefer a lab test.
4. Yes
2010-02-19 5:52 PM
in reply to: #2682581

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Subject: RE: VO2 Max, Lactate Threshold, and HR Questions
chunta - 2010-02-19 2:54 PM

AdventureBear - 2010-02-19 4:44 PMShort Answer:Do not use 220-ageDo separate field tests for both cycing and runningYES you definately need to do these for your IM training if you want to be best preparedNo, you do not need to pay for a professional/lab testNo, they are nto the same thing.The only thing you need to worry about is doing a "Threshold field test" for both running and cycling, then calculating yoru zones. Record them, train and restest. Getting better? Do it again. Not getting better? Hire a coach.
What she said. I wish I could be simple and to the point. I just don't have it in me.


I was pressed for time.
2010-02-19 5:59 PM
in reply to: #2682505

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Subject: RE: VO2 Max, Lactate Threshold, and HR Questions
Just perform a field test on your own.  It provides a good set of base numbers and is much more reliable.


2010-02-19 6:10 PM
in reply to: #2682707

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Subject: RE: VO2 Max, Lactate Threshold, and HR Questions
Daremo - 2010-02-19 4:28 PM

Some of the answers above are not quite correct.

1) VO2 max is the maximum volume of air that your body can take in and process during exercise.  Somewhere in the range of 95% of your maximum heartrate (varies by individual).  It is not necessarily how much your body utilizes during a period of time.  It is a measure of the maximum your lungs can take in during that time.  The only way to measure this accurately is in a lab.



Just so everyone is on the same page....

Vo2 IS how much oxygen your body utilizes. A known volume of O2 is inhaled (known percentage of O2 estimated at 21% of air, but calibrated by measuring temperature and barometric pressure at the start of every test), and the exhaled volume of O2 is measured. The difference is how much oxygen your body used, measured in Liters or ml. It is limited primarily by stroke volume, maximum heart rate and the metabolic fitness of the muscles (capillary density, aerobic enzyme concentration, number of mitochondria).

The volume of air your lungs take in is never a limiter unless you have Cystic Fibrosis, severe (end stage) COPD or are missing a lung. Even severe asthmatics are rarely limited by oxygen intake, i.e. lung function.

The measurement of how much air your lungs take in is called your Tidal Volume. Tidal Volume can be plotted on a time curve of watts or pace or time during an incremental test as well, and there will be a deflection point with tidal volume just like there is a deflection point with lactate measurement. your ventilation rate will increase dramatically reflecting the body's need to get rid of acidic waste in the form of CO2...not in response to your body's need for more oxygen delivery, at least not primarily. This point is called the ventilatory threshold, and occurs very near the lactate threshold as measured with blood tests and is the reason that the "Conversation Test" is a valid perceived exertion measure to use when trying to train at levels below threshold.
2010-02-19 9:08 PM
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Subject: RE: VO2 Max, Lactate Threshold, and HR Questions
Wow, lots to take in, but at least I understand.  Thank you for the clarifications and opinions.

I trained by RPE the last couple of years after being freaked out and frustrated by my HR monitor.  Now it's a matter of it being useless until I know how to set it to my correct zones. 

The problem I tend to have using RPE is that I over-do my workouts, then get fatigued or injured for days; I always felt good enough to do more even when the RPE was low.  I listen to my body very well while in the moment, but don't pick up the signals in between the workouts that tell me to back off.  So, I would like to give the HR training a try again.

I suppose the easy way is to spend the $$ at a lab, but it sounds like I can get 'pert near the results doing a field test.  Plus it's cheaper to DIY!  I need that money for the new bike and FOOD.

I think I've seen on BT how to do a field test.  Anyone have a link? 
2010-02-20 12:35 AM
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Subject: RE: VO2 Max, Lactate Threshold, and HR Questions
If you live near a major university they're ALWAYS looking for subjects to do VO2 max testing. You can call their kinesiology/exercise science department as a start and explain that you're wondering if there are any studies taking place right now that are looking into VO2 max. You might even get PAID to find this information out. Many studies will gladly explain what your results mean and where you are percentile wise for your age.
2010-02-20 10:41 AM
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Subject: RE: VO2 Max, Lactate Threshold, and HR Questions
crazyquick23 - 2010-02-20 12:35 AM If you live near a major university they're ALWAYS looking for subjects to do VO2 max testing. You can call their kinesiology/exercise science department as a start and explain that you're wondering if there are any studies taking place right now that are looking into VO2 max. You might even get PAID to find this information out. Many studies will gladly explain what your results mean and where you are percentile wise for your age.


Good idea... The UW is here so I'll check them out.
2010-02-20 12:15 PM
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Subject: RE: VO2 Max, Lactate Threshold, and HR Questions
AdventureBear - 2010-02-19 7:10 PM
Daremo - 2010-02-19 4:28 PM Some of the answers above are not quite correct.

1) VO2 max is the maximum volume of air that your body can take in and process during exercise.  Somewhere in the range of 95% of your maximum heartrate (varies by individual).  It is not necessarily how much your body utilizes during a period of time.  It is a measure of the maximum your lungs can take in during that time.  The only way to measure this accurately is in a lab.
Just so everyone is on the same page.... Vo2 IS how much oxygen your body utilizes. A known volume of O2 is inhaled (known percentage of O2 estimated at 21% of air, but calibrated by measuring temperature and barometric pressure at the start of every test), and the exhaled volume of O2 is measured. The difference is how much oxygen your body used, measured in Liters or ml. 


Yeah, we get that, but we're talking about VO2 MAX.  Of course VO2 is how much oxygen your body takes in/lets out.  You cannot calculate anything just by knowing someone's instantaneuos VO2.  You need to lab test and get their max to have any sort of indication of that and put it to use.

It is splitting hairs, but the way I understand the subject is it is not how much your body utilizes.  It is simply how much you take in versus exhale.


2010-02-20 12:35 PM
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Subject: RE: VO2 Max, Lactate Threshold, and HR Questions
Daremo - 2010-02-20 12:15 PM
AdventureBear - 2010-02-19 7:10 PM
Daremo - 2010-02-19 4:28 PM Some of the answers above are not quite correct.

1) VO2 max is the maximum volume of air that your body can take in and process during exercise.  Somewhere in the range of 95% of your maximum heartrate (varies by individual).  It is not necessarily how much your body utilizes during a period of time.  It is a measure of the maximum your lungs can take in during that time.  The only way to measure this accurately is in a lab.
Just so everyone is on the same page.... Vo2 IS how much oxygen your body utilizes. A known volume of O2 is inhaled (known percentage of O2 estimated at 21% of air, but calibrated by measuring temperature and barometric pressure at the start of every test), and the exhaled volume of O2 is measured. The difference is how much oxygen your body used, measured in Liters or ml. 


Yeah, we get that, but we're talking about VO2 MAX.  Of course VO2 is how much oxygen your body takes in/lets out.  You cannot calculate anything just by knowing someone's instantaneuos VO2.  You need to lab test and get their max to have any sort of indication of that and put it to use.

It is splitting hairs, but the way I understand the subject is it is not how much your body utilizes.  It is simply how much you take in versus exhale.


It seems like you may be a little confused about what exactly VO2 max is measuring.

The difference between what is taken in vs. what is blown off IS the amount of O2 utilized by the body. Even during a bout of maximal exercise your lungs are able to keep up with the O2 demands of the working muscle. Therefore the 02 saturation of your blood changes very little if at all in a healthy individual (unhealthy is a whole different ball of wax). That fact allows you to take the difference of 02 in the air and subtract it from the 02 in the expired breath to determine the amount of 02 utilized by the body at different levels of exercise.
2010-03-26 10:41 AM
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Subject: RE: VO2 Max, Lactate Threshold, and HR Questions
I'm returning to this post since I had a bit of cash to blow on a VO2 Max test (treadmill) and have new questions related to all this HR stuff.  Here's what I was given for data:
AT: 173
Max VO2: 45.3
Max HR: 194

Zone 1 116-135
Zone 2 136-154
Zone 3: 155-173
Zone 4: 174-183
Zone 5: 184-194


One of my original issues still exists: My HR is consistently in upper Z3 to low Z4 even when I'm running at a 9:40-10 pace (this is conversational comfortable pace for me).  To get below this into Z2 aerobic, I would pretty much have to scale back my base phase running to a run/walk.  I seriously don't think I could run any slower without walking.  My HR data is in my BT logs, longer runs on Fridays and Sundays, in case you want to see some examples.

Any one have a suggestion or opinion for what I could do to train my HR to stay low without run/walk?  Or how I am able  maintain a race pace (according to HR) for an hour?  The second question confused the tester - his thought:  According to the data, you're AT is at just over 80% of your HR reserve. and is at 80% of your VO2max. These numbers are not unusual and if anything they skew toward the high end of the curve.  Here is where this becomes speculative. Based on your fitness level and my brief observation of your running form, I wouldn't expect a 10-minute mile pace to put you at 89% of your max HR.
Thanks in advance!
2010-03-26 11:19 AM
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Subject: RE: VO2 Max, Lactate Threshold, and HR Questions
One of my original issues still exists: My HR is consistently in upper Z3 to low Z4 even when I'm running at a 9:40-10 pace (this is conversational comfortable pace for me).  To get below this into Z2 aerobic, I would pretty much have to scale back my base phase running to a run/walk.  I seriously don't think I could run any slower without walking.  My HR data is in my BT logs, longer runs on Fridays and Sundays, in case you want to see some examples.


My 'comfortable' pace is about the same as yours, and it too is somewhat above Z2.  Generally I just run there (9:50-10:00), but when I do want to keep my HR in Z2, I have no problems running at 11:00 minute miles.  It generally drops my HR from 155 to 148 if I drop from 9:50 to 10:30 minute miles.  There's nothing wrong with learning to run slower, it took me a while to feel coordinated at slower than 10 minute miles, but it was worth it cause I can go longer now.

From your logs, it looks like you are running 3-4 solid sessions a week.  Why are you wanting to lower your HR?  If your body is handling your desired volume at your current pace, what benefit would there be to slowing down?
2010-03-26 10:50 PM
in reply to: #2750802

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Subject: RE: VO2 Max, Lactate Threshold, and HR Questions
norcal_SAHD - 2010-03-26 11:19 AM
One of my original issues still exists: My HR is consistently in upper Z3 to low Z4 even when I'm running at a 9:40-10 pace (this is conversational comfortable pace for me).  To get below this into Z2 aerobic, I would pretty much have to scale back my base phase running to a run/walk.  I seriously don't think I could run any slower without walking.  My HR data is in my BT logs, longer runs on Fridays and Sundays, in case you want to see some examples.


My 'comfortable' pace is about the same as yours, and it too is somewhat above Z2.  Generally I just run there (9:50-10:00), but when I do want to keep my HR in Z2, I have no problems running at 11:00 minute miles.  It generally drops my HR from 155 to 148 if I drop from 9:50 to 10:30 minute miles.  There's nothing wrong with learning to run slower, it took me a while to feel coordinated at slower than 10 minute miles, but it was worth it cause I can go longer now.

From your logs, it looks like you are running 3-4 solid sessions a week.  Why are you wanting to lower your HR?  If your body is handling your desired volume at your current pace, what benefit would there be to slowing down?


Since I am training for IMMoo I'd like to be training where my official zones are - I'm prone to overtraining and the nasty things that go along with it.  I found that I have been running in Z3 throughout my base building phase, but I was always wiped out an hour or two after the run.  Now that I have my zones I'd like to train without killing myself and actually try running slower for true aerobic training during this phase.  I've read in a couple of books, and heard from veteran IM participants, that training in the upper zones degrades your ability to remain in lower zones for longer races and makes one susceptible to injury, burnout, fatigue, etc.  In addition, my training close to AT or over was primarily using carbs for fuel instead of fat - thus, I may have found a reason why I was gaining weight while training 7-8 hrs/week. It was probably the cause of my "crashing" two hours after long runs.  I've learned a ton recently.

I ran this evening for an hour and forced myself to stay in a zone 2 (according to book, Z2-Z3 by my lab test output) and I think I finally realized what "conversational" pace actually is!  It was a very slow pace for me and caused me all sorts of new aches due to the different gait - nothing stretching didn't fix.  I also walked twice for a few seconds until my HR went back down into mid-zone.  VERY different experience.  It was actually kinda boring, but I felt pretty darn good afterward and didn't crash like I usually do. 

norcal_SAHD, I think your story inspired me that running slower can be done and can get you to run longer.  I know I'm not podium material for IM, but when the build and peak phases come around, I will put my all into the intervals and sprints to get faster!
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