Saturday: 90′ Lactate Experiment

I was really tired on Friday night, so I decided to sleep in instead of rowing on Saturday morning.  I needed the sleep, all 12 hours of it!

After running around, doing errands, I decided to do an erg session in the late afternoon.  I had not eaten since 9AM, and I started around 4PM, so I was reasonably fasted.  I wanted to duplicate my situation rowing in the mornings as closely as I could.

I wanted to get a better feeling for what my lactate and HR did in a longer session at constant power.  I’ve been doing steady state sessions around 190W and I thought that was reasonably close to a 2.0 mmol/l intensity.  So, the experiment design was simple.

Row a sequence of 9 – 10 minute pieces at 190W, and measure lactate after each during a 1:30 rest.  Here is the RowPro view of the experiment

Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 11.38.39 AM Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 11.38.52 AM

And the split data:

Workout Summary – Sep 13, 2015
–_|_19862_|_90:24.0_|_02:16.5_|_137.5_|_17.9_|_145.8_|_ 72.2% _|_12.2_|_07.7
Workout Details

01_|_02450_|_10:00.0_|_02:02.4_|_190.7_|_19.5_|_129.2_|_ 60.5% _|_12.6_|_09.8
02_|_00049_|_01:30.0_|_15:22.2_|_000.4_|_02.7_|_116.3_|_ 51.2% _|_12.2_|_00.2
03_|_02453_|_10:00.0_|_02:02.3_|_191.4_|_20.0_|_135.2_|_ 64.7% _|_12.3_|_09.6
04_|_00038_|_01:30.0_|_19:59.2_|_000.2_|_02.0_|_130.0_|_ 61.0% _|_12.5_|_00.1
05_|_02451_|_10:00.0_|_02:02.4_|_190.9_|_19.9_|_141.6_|_ 69.2% _|_12.3_|_09.6
06_|_00057_|_01:30.0_|_13:03.5_|_000.7_|_03.3_|_125.2_|_ 57.6% _|_11.5_|_00.2
07_|_02450_|_10:00.0_|_02:02.4_|_190.7_|_19.8_|_144.9_|_ 71.5% _|_12.4_|_09.6
08_|_00055_|_01:30.0_|_13:33.1_|_000.7_|_04.0_|_125.2_|_ 57.6% _|_09.2_|_00.2
09_|_02451_|_10:00.0_|_02:02.4_|_191.0_|_20.0_|_147.7_|_ 73.6% _|_12.3_|_09.5
10_|_00043_|_01:30.0_|_17:23.5_|_000.3_|_02.7_|_135.3_|_ 64.7% _|_10.8_|_00.1
11_|_02453_|_10:00.0_|_02:02.3_|_191.3_|_20.3_|_152.0_|_ 76.6% _|_12.1_|_09.4
12_|_00038_|_01:33.0_|_20:28.0_|_000.2_|_01.9_|_147.3_|_ 73.3% _|_12.6_|_00.1
13_|_02458_|_10:00.0_|_02:02.1_|_192.5_|_20.2_|_157.3_|_ 80.4% _|_12.2_|_09.5
14_|_00032_|_01:33.0_|_24:08.3_|_000.1_|_01.3_|_146.0_|_ 72.3% _|_16.1_|_00.1
15_|_02383_|_09:48.0_|_02:03.4_|_186.3_|_20.2_|_160.3_|_ 82.5% _|_12.0_|_09.2

This resulted in the following data:

lactate table

Which, when graphed, looks like:

Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 11.37.52 AM

So, what does this mean?

  1. 190W is too high of a power level for me right now.
  2. My HR takes a while to work it’s way up, but the lactate tracks effort pretty quickly
  3. My endurance is suspect.  The plateau from 20 to 30 is interesting.  I was able to hold that for that period, but I guess I fatigued and started to rely on more fast twitch muscles, which started to generate more lactate.  That’s also the point in the row where it started to feel like work.
  4. I was still in my UT1 band until after 60 minutes of rowing, but my lactates were way above the 2.0mmol/l target.  My rule of thumb of keeping it below the top end of UT1 is NOT a good guideline.

This was valuable enough that I think I will try it again next weekend at 185W.  I suspect that the plateau will be lower and longer, but will break free again and start to climb.

10 thoughts on “Saturday: 90′ Lactate Experiment

  1. Boris says:

    @1: Way too high. 😱
    @2: Start slower and give your energy system some time (Remember the the discussion in the lactate thread, we had?).
    @3: As you have a road bike, do some long basic endurance work on a regular base. Check you nutrition and look that you include enough “alkaline foods” into your diet.
    @4: HR was never, and will never be, in correlation to lactate.


    • gregsmith01748 says:

      @1: Yep.
      @2: I remember the discussion and I resisted the idea before. But I think I’m ready to try it, maybe 10′ at 175, 10′ at 180, then the rest at 185.
      @3: I haven’t had the big blocks of time to do this, but I agree that it is beneficial. It was one of the things I was hoping to do while in Taiwan, with the 90′ and 120′ sessions. I have no idea what kinds of food are “alkaline foods”. They don’t sound delicious. Is beer alkaline?
      @4: Not perfectly, but I can’t measure lactate or power in a boat, so I want another way, even if the correlation is only rough and changing with time. I figure if I do lactate testing with HR measurements frequently, it will help give me some clue.


  2. Boris says:

    @4: C’mon, Greg. There’s absolutely no correlation, even not rough. How HR develops over a training session can be a useful indicator. E.g. if you’re on ketosis you’ll need more oxygen and your heart and breathing will work significantly harder for the same power level/effort. HR is also good to find the point of fatigue, which is important to know for longer sessions. But forget HR as valid/useful marker for speed/power or lactate levels.


    Buy some pH stripes and track your urine pH over some days. I bet you’re overly acidified. 😷


    @1: By (lactate) numbers you posted some month ago in the lactate thread, I tend to say: You regressed at aerobic base quite significantly.


    • stelph82 says:

      I do agree with your points on HR but as Greg states, the HR can also be quite useful at times so its worth tracking (if not relying completely on) – For example I know that when I am well rested and working at a wattage that is “about right” my HR tends to settle down after the first 20 and then only slowly increase (maybe 5-10 bpm over the next hour) where as if I am at too high an intensity I will see a much higher increase in bpm over that time, until a way of tracking “live” lactate is released then in my mind HR is still the best “live” indicator that you may not be on target

      Liked by 2 people

    • gregsmith01748 says:

      So, I did a bit of research on Alkaline Diets and I found no peer reviewed research to suggest that they have any beneficial effect, other than the fact that all the “bad” foods are also high in fat, salt and sugar so are bad for other reasons. Are there some sources that demonstrate the linkage between being “acidified” and higher lactate levels that you can point me to?


      • stelph82 says:

        Yeah can relate to that, following HRR and holidays over the summer (including a couple of weeks where I just ticked over and enoyed sculling rather than actually “training”) its horrifying how many watts I had dropped and now need to reclaim, but unfortunately the numbers don’t lie so I think its better to bite the bullet and drop the watts back down again than struggle along at a “too high” wattage, that was one of the things MChase originally highlighted as something that the kids who didn’t improve did often


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