General Discussion Triathlon Talk » LT way off in race?? Rss Feed  
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2013-12-28 2:29 AM

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Subject: LT way off in race??
I did an bike LT test on 11 Nov, on a trainer. That was a couple of weeks after I had started biking. Been using the zones from the test in my practice and it has felt correct, pushing into Super Threshold has been uncomfortable and I could feel the acid build up meaning I have stayed in that zone for only shorter time - a few minutes at max.
Been doing 3 rides a week since late October, mostly on trainer, 2 rides on road.

On 22 Dec I had my first ever race, a triathlon featuring a 35km bike leg.
As you can see below in the table, from the test my Super Threshold starts at 158, and my Anaerobic starts at 162. Power ends at 173.
The "Time" part is from my race!!

I did 16mins in 5a, 13mins in 5b and 11mins in 5c - BUT it doesn't stop there - I did roughly 30 minutes above 5c!!!

HR/Pace label Range data label Time
1 - Recovery 103 - 130 01m 35s
2 - Extensive Endurance 131 - 141 00m 02s
3 - Intensive Endurance 141 - 147 00m 01s
4 - Sub-Threshold 149 - 157 02m 58s
5a - SuperThreshold 158 - 161 16m 08s
5b - Anaerobic Endurance 162 - 166 13m 02s
5c - Power 167 - 173 11m 21s
Outside the table: 173 - 179 30m

My bike HR avg was 164, HR Max: 179 during the race.

How fast does the LT develop? Is it possible I have improved it this much in 6 weeks?
I am 41, complete newbie on bike, just bought it in October. Have decent average endurance from running and other sports.
Or is the LT different on a trainer vs road?
Any other sources of pollution to the results?

Edited by knuta99 2013-12-28 2:30 AM

2013-12-28 8:52 AM
in reply to: knuta99

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Austin, Texas
Subject: RE: LT way off in race??

First and foremost:  CONGRATULATIONS on your first race!  That's awesome and welcome to the sport (it is crazy addictive).  

I suspect you already know some of the issues that can come up, based on the excellent questions you ask.  Now, I'm no coach, but since this is Beginner Triathlete, I'll at least give my experiences (to be taken with hearty grains of salt).

Your LT could have indeed improved.  So that's great!  Buuuut, not likely THAT much in so short a time (some but not all of the difference).  So, on to some other possible contributors.

I see a considerable difference between the power I can hold on a trainer and on the road.  Cooling, road feel/interest, mental fatigue, subtle changes in body position on the road that you don't get on the trainer but that help keep you "loose" and such can lead to differences.  Retesting on the road will help, I suspect.

I also see a goodly difference in what I can hold during a test and during a race.  I can peg the redline and hold it there a LOT longer in a racing situation that I can if I'm just out doing a test (in s/b/r - any of them) on my own - no matter how hard i THINK I'm pushing myself.  Maybe I'm mentally not strong enough to really hammer if I don't have a number pinned on my chest, but there you go.  

If you're a fit athlete from other endeavors, your zones might also be somewhat "compressed" toward the top end of the range.  So, your threshold HR might average a higher number than the method you used to calculate it might have.  The more fit I get, the narrower my zones and higher the HR numbers...

The other source of noise could be the HR monitoring equipment, but I'd put a lot less emphasis on this one and more on the two above (iow, not likely a meaningful contributor).

If you really get into the data and have the discretionary funds (two big if's for a lot of folks), using a power meter on the bike can be a very helpful tool in setting zones, both for training and racing.  I'm sure a few other folks who are much more knowledgable about that will chime in here (I'm about 18 months into using mine, so still learning).

Just my tuppence/experience.

Again, congrats.  Sounds like you're hooked, which is terrific!!


2013-12-28 9:12 AM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: LT way off in race??
I agree that trainer versus outside and racing versus training are significant differences.

Was there an altitude difference between the training and race locations? I live at 3000 feet and had a similar experience (heart rate higher than expected) when I did a mtn bike race near sea level. At sea level I had richer fuel (more oxygen in each breath) which maybe helped allow my body to sustain a higher heart rate.

Edited by donw 2013-12-28 9:13 AM
2013-12-29 7:06 AM
in reply to: mcmanusclan5

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Subject: RE: LT way off in race??
Thanks for taking time to reply and sharing your experiences.

Yeah I am completely new but completely hooked
So I spend a ridiculous amount of time thinking of tri and training and all different kind of questions pop up.

My biggest suspect for the LT "spike" is indeed the difference between trainer/road and training/race as well. No doubt I was inspired by the guys passing me.
But still open to hear more theories on this.

I am living at pretty much same height as the race, definitely not a difference that would have caused any impact on this.

2013-12-29 10:20 AM
in reply to: knuta99

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Salt Lake City
Subject: RE: LT way off in race??
Outdoor and indoor power are definitely not the same thing.

Additionally, especially since you're new to the sport the race atmosphere may have allowed you to push yourself a lot harder than you've been able to sitting alone on your trainer.
2013-12-29 10:58 AM
in reply to: JZig

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Subject: RE: LT way off in race??

Originally posted by JZig Outdoor and indoor power are definitely not the same thing. Additionally, especially since you're new to the sport the race atmosphere may have allowed you to push yourself a lot harder than you've been able to sitting alone on your trainer.


Your zones are likely bit off.

Many when first test don't execute the test well. It takes time to learn how to suffer and push yourself. A race environment brings that extra incentive to suffer and push.

Congrats on your first race.


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