Lactate Threshold Heart Rate

by Tom Welker
(Idaho, USA)

Lactate treshold heart rate.

"Hi Marius,

I have a question that you've addressed to some degree from previous posters, but it is a slightly different take on LTHR. I have trained for triathlons in the past, and anyone that has trained for them has probably used Joe Friel's training methods and periodization schemes at some point. While I am not a huge fan of his traditional linear periodization, I do like his views on heart rate training, and in particular, "centering" the HR zones on the LTHR. He has endurance athletes determine their LTHR by doing a 30 min time trial on the track - the athlete records the last 20 min and finds his average heart rate for this period, which is the LTHR. Mine has been consistently ~173-175 bpm over the past few years. Using his tables and a LTHR of 175 bpm, I have zones of: zone 1 (recovery) = 116-148; zone 2 (aerobic) = 149-158; zone 3 (tempo) = 159-167; zone 4 (sub-threshold) = 168-174; zone 5a (LTHR or super-threshold) 175-178; zone 5b (aerobic capacity; VO2max) = 179-185; zone 5c (anaerobic capacity) = 186-194. My question is this: how do these zones match to the zones listed in your training plan? I'm guessing that your LTHR zone 3 = Joe Friel's zone 5a, but what about zone 4? If I assume that my max heart rate is close to the upper limit of Friel's zone 5c (194 bpm), then then my zone 3 and zone 4 HR adjusted in your plan, would be 155-169 and 169-178 bpm, respectively. My LTHR would fall in the middle of your zone 4 HR range. Any suggestions? I actually prefer determining my LTHR rather than my maximum heart rate, because I think it is an easier test to perform and likely more accurate (at least for me). Thanks, Tom."

Answer: Hi Tom and thanks for your question.

I'm not familiar with the test you refer to - but my personal experience is that the zones in the 100 day plan (and the approach used there) is very close to the ideal IF you do not have access to a lab / lacate acid meter which is the only way to really accurately determine this.

The whole 100 day plan is based around the zones you see in there - with the zones determined from the max HR, so you probably want to use this, or since you seem to be well-read within the training field/got some experience, find a lab that will do an actual lactate test. In that case, your Zone 1 should be below 1,6 mmol/l lactate, zone 2 from 1,6 to 2,3. Zone 3 from 2,4 to 3,2 (with most being around 3,0). Zone 3 being around your threshold :)

I wish you all the best with your training,

kind regards,

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