Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday Conconi step test.

This was on the track in Boulder with Gordo.
Pace HR mmol/L
8:04 117 1.6
7:14 128 1.4
6:33 140 1.6
6:02 148 1.7
5:40 159 2.0

Gordo has left a comment regarding my test and also his.


Gordo Byrn said...

YO -- HERE"S MY TAKE -- fun to watch a guy like you run!


OK, game plan was 2K repeats at 120/130/140/4 min per K/3:45 per K

Didn't quite hit the session but good enough to get a view.

Suunto doesn't give me max HR per lap just averages, early Ks splits are depressed due to HR being very low at the start of each 2K. Even now, I tend to recover pretty quick.


Baseline #1, 2.8 (then recalibrate)
Baseline #2, 1.3 that's more like it
Then test Lucho, then Baseline #3 1.0 (quite low)

K at 5:10 / 121
K at 5:10 / 122 __ 1.6 mmol
stub at 0:43 / 121
K at 4:43 / 127
K at 4:48 / 130 __ 1.3 mmol
stub at 37s = 131
1600 at 6:57 - 138
400 at 1:48 - 140 avg of 4:23 per K and 1.8 mmol
Stub 0:34 @ 138
K at 4:01 / 147
K at 4:03 / 154
0:30 / 149-- screwed up reading (1.4 mmol) -- breathmarkers tempo at ~152 bpm
400 at 1:30 = 151 __ 3.0 mmol
Stub 0:38 at 150
K at 3:41 - 158 bpm
K at 3:36 - 170 bpm (blew it here, should have backed off to 3:45 to get view on FT) __ 5.6 mmol


So.... based on everything together (breath, HR, lactate, pace)

AeT Pace ~4:34 per K about 7:21 per mile
LT Pace ~4:05 per K about 6:35 per mile
FT Pace ~3:45 per K about 6:00 per mile // would need field data to back up as I ran last K too quick


From Earlier
G Run Zones
137-143 = Steady
151-155 = Mod-hard
158-163 – Threshold

These seem to line up pretty well -- I'd also say that low 130s early in a workout is likely to be OK for steady as well. 153 had the physiological markers of a good tempo effort -- but could easily have been over LT as I didn't hold that pace for very long, that's why I added a couple seconds per K to that step.

Not sure "why" I sped up from the 3:41K -- probably due to HR elevating and lack of blood to the brain! Peak HR for the session was 173 bpm, I was well off max effort.


Baseline 1.2, after recalibration
120 bpm was ~5 min Ks at 1.6 mol
130 bpm was 4:40/4:23 at 1.4 mmol
140 bpm was 4:05/4:05 at 1.6 mmol
150 was 3:45/3:45 at 1.7 mmol
160 was 3:39/3:36 at 2.0 mmol
...so pretty fit dude (or tired) -- I told him to decide!

You can read Tim's comments here http://joghard.blogspot.com/

My take...
Steady ~6 min per mile
Mod-Hard 5:35 to 5:45 per mile
Physiological change happens ~5:35 per mile so cautious about tossing in much above that level.

Note 5:32 = 2:25 marathon // could be an issue with spiking lactate early in races leading to fade // deep warm up good idea, consider bike

PB marathon is 2:30 = 5:44 per mile, 3:34 pace // this is pretty close to current LT pace.

Core, cadence, mechanics look rock solid // I really had nothing to add other than saying... dooode, you are fit!


Lucho said...

Awesome Gordo! Very much appreciated and thanks for your time!

Lucho said...

Note: Gordo is using the term LT to describe 2.0 mmol/L, where I use LT to describe 4.0 mmol/L. My definition is the more traditional "1 hour of race effort" or FT (functional threshold).
I should also say that Gordo has been training for 10 days now.. impressive numbers considering.

GZ said...

Okay - I will be the idiot ... it ain't that hard for me.

So you get to LT at 5:40 pace - based on the 2.0 mmol/L measurement. Right? So arguably that is the pace you ought to be able to hold for a marathon as of today? Right?

What do the lower paces mmol/L correspond to (or are they just measurements until you get to LT)?

I am having a tough time also trying to figure out Gordo's test - as it seems he was playing with a variety of paces to get a variety of points on the curve (I guess I could graph it)

Ward said...

T - Solid numbers man! Now, just stay away from those deep tissue massages and I think you have this one nailed!

Lucho said...

GZ- Gordo uses "LT" as the point at which lactate starts an 'uptick' in the blood stream, this 2.0 mmol level is still very aerobic however as the body is still processing lactate very efficiently. 2.0-2.3 mmol/ L is about the level an athlete can sustain for 26.2 miles. So you are correct (and NOT an idiot- it's all quite intuitive stuff), I am basically at 2:28-2:30 marathon shape right now- at altitude. What he is also saying is that I may have spiked lactate too early in my past marathons with an inadequate warm-up or improper pacing which is why I have dropped off in pace and only run 2:30.
Gordo was wanting to see both his lactate levels at certain HR/ pace... and also what his lactate levels were at 4:00 per kilometer pace. This is a bench mark for him that allows him to use past data/ tests to see how he compares now to times of peak fitness.
The more you do these tests the less perfectly structured they need to be. As you see the trends happening in the data you get a good picture of where you are. Gordo was seeing what he needed.

The flip side of this test is to take the intervals up to 4.0+ mmol/L which is the point at which lactate is not being processed and is accumulating. This is the traditional lactate threshold and is about the effort you could hold for 1 hour. This aspect of fitness is quite critical for the marathon, but at this point in my training it is not the focus or even a concern. You train this aspect of fitness by running 'tempo' runs, cruise intervals, intervals, etc..
The pace I can sustain at 2.0 mmol/L is more important than my 10k time which shows less of an ability to maintain goal pace for 26 miles than does the test above. Once I get my 2.0 mmol/L pace down to 5:17 per mile, well, you can guess what that means. With 17 weeks to go, this is very possible.
But the test is not a guarantee by any means either! There are several other important components involved- specific muscle strength and the ability to move at 5:17 pace with out breaking down. Fueling. Mental ability to endure.

Lucho said...

Ward- We'll see. I still have a long ways to go! The mental side is possibly what will be the deciding factor. The body follows the brain, and my brain is weak.

Josh said...


This is exactly what I was wondering. So, you are not mentally weak or not tough enough. I did not buy that for one second. I'm guessing you just basically ran real close to your fitness level. Yes?


Lucho said...

I might disagree, a little. I've been in better specific marathon shape than right now, never this aerobically fit however. It gets a bit vague in trying to compare exactly from now to past races. I think Gordo was right in that I have fallen short of better times in the past due to improper warm-ups and going out too fast. At Chicago I'll be running sans HR monitor and that may help a bit. Start 15"-20" slower than goal pace to make sure lactate doesn't spike. At Denver I had almost zero warm-up (it was 34 degrees and raining) and went 5:20 in the first mile. I also walked during that race. Austin- f*cked up back and 2 porta john stops. Who knows what I could have run, but it could have been faster for sure.
Being in 2:30 shape right now, 17 weeks out, off pure base work at altitude makes me happy though.

Ironboom said...


Great test. It's awesome to see your progress. I'd like to ask you about heart rate relative to power/pace data. Gordo mentions that you are either one fit dude or one tired dude. Based on your progression over the last couple months, I think in your case it is the former.

Nevertheless, I would appreciate your thoughts on differentiating between the two. I know from my own training, I (or rather my ego) can easily convince myself that I have become fitter if I see lower heart rates for any given power output on the bike or lower heart rates for any given pace on the run relative to where I was just a few weeks before. However, I have learned (the hard way) that while the mind and ego want to believe that this change in ratio is a result of fitness gains, the reality, as soon the body tells the mind in some form or another, the change was really a result of fatigue. (Even then, it can be difficult for the ego to accept that fact).

Both fitness gains and fatigue can result in the same symptoms, i.e., depressed heart rates. So how do you tell the difference? One subtle difference I have noticed is that when I have gained fitness, my heart is quicker to respond to increased efforts. This, however, is merely my own observation, and probably just as subjective as trying to figure out the difference between between the two in the first place. Would you mind giving us your thoughts on that issue? Thanks as always.

GZ said...

But to be clear on the plan ... you will continue to develop via 140-150 HR training until you see a plateau in those results? And then engage other systems by training above that?

Lucho said...

Iron- great question and I'll keep it simple. There are basically 3 types of fatigue:
Neuromuscular- Fatigue of the CNS (central nervous system) creates a state of inhibition, resulting in slower and weaker muscule contraction (lower proportion of motor unit recruitment).
Metabolic fatigue- low fuel.
Neuroendocrine fatigue- Too much training leads to a change in the levels of certain hormones. Adrenaline, noradrenaline, human growth hormone, cortisol and thyroid stimulating hormone.
The depressed HR is going to come from the glycogen depletion mostly. Not enough fuel to allow the muscles to function fully. The best way to spot the signs of over reaching is to watch HR VS performance over a span a weeks. You shoudl easily see trends that will let you see when performance is declining or there is a significant change in HR VS wattage/ pace.
Perceived exertion along with HR comparisons will also be very key. Say I run 6 miles in 42:00 at HR 140 and it felt relaxed and like a jog... then I run 6 miles in 42:00 at HR 130 and I was feeling like I had to really work to do the run (no pace change, higher effort, lower HR). Comparing the two runs shows signs of something wrong, too many days in a row of this and you probably need to rest and eat more. Just an example. So PE is important here. From week to week you should not see a big jump in the effort required to push the same wattage or run the same pace. Very slowly the PE will change as the wattage gets higher and pace gets faster though. The differences should change subtly though.
Looking at my last 3 weeks I see- an increase in mileage (100, 101, 106) with no noticeable increase in fatigue. Tests showed improvement every week. No soreness,loss of motivation, mood deterioration, and I had good HR response. All of these points show that I have little fatigue. Plus on today's test the last 2k interval was very easy and relaxed, so PE was where it has been.

Lucho said...

GZ- By having this test done I can now leave my HR monitor off more often and run by pace. I have data that indicates the level of stress at various paces. I want to keep wearing the HR at the high altitude and the hills, but in Boulder on the flats I will start to run more freely at ~5:35-5:45 pace and develop the muscle recruitment specific to running fast for a long time. It's still all about moving the legs at X pace for 26 miles. But in general, this training is obviously working far to well to leave now.