Autumn Test Results

So, with the 6K test I did yesterday, I completed my first thorough fitness assessment.  The tests that I did were:

  • 2 speed lactate test
  • 1 minute peak power test
  • 2K test
  • 6K test


11-10 2-speed

The 2-speed test doesn’t tell anything now.  It is something that can be repeated easily to measure progress over time.

For the other tests:

test results

The first take away from these tests is that I have a bigger gap between aerobic threshold and VO2Max.  Basically, this means that my 2K is faster than “should” be based on my aerobic threshold power.  I’m guessing that this means that my lactate tolerance is higher than some and allows me to overachieve on the 2K.  The diagnosis is that I should build a better aerobic base.

The second take away is that the ratio between my V02Max (2K power) and my anaerobic threshold (6K power), is very small.  In terms of pace, my 2K pace was 1:42.6.  My 6K pace was 1:47.5.  That’s a difference of 4.9 seconds.  In general, for heavyweights, the rule of thumb is 5 seconds slower pace when you double the distance (Paul’s law).  If you plug in my 6K pace, the predicted 2K pace is 1:39.5, about 3 splits faster!  So, the take away from this for me is that my 2K is pretty damn slow.

Now consider the VO2Max to 30 sec avg power.  My ratio is much higher than the “Ideal”, essentially meaning that my peak power is low relative to my VO2Max.  So, even though my 2K is slow, if I was to use peak power as a predictor it should be slower still!  This again points to me leaning more heavily on lactate tolerance than anaerobic power to get through the 2K distance

In essence, none of this should be surprising.  I designed a training plan to focus on head racing.  I wanted to optimize my performance at the 5K to 6K distance, and it looks like that is what happened.  In retrospect, I would have done better if I had been able to maintain and build my aerobic base, but the deficits in peak power are entirely expected and entirely fine with me.

So, how do these results impact my training plan?  Honestly, not much.  I already suspected that my aerobic base was weak from the lame ass 2.0mmol steady powers that I could hold, and I baked a higher amount of endurance into the plan for that reason.  I also had baked in a training block with a lot of peak power work in the last month before 2K competition since I know that those gains are temporary and tough to maintain without killing my aerobic base.

The interesting part of this (at least to me) is to see what happens when I do the test block after the Crash-Bs to see if what I’m planning to do actually works.  The other thing that the testing gives me is a clue about what to do next summer to get ready for head racing season.  My thought now is to replace one high intensity session per week with more endurance training.  I’ll have to think some more in terms of a block periodization strategy.



13 thoughts on “Autumn Test Results

  1. bendredman says:

    Thanks for sharing your analysis, it’s really interesting!

    Looking at your tests, I’d take the ‘hard’ results with more importance than the more vague ones. By that, I mean:
    The 6km was full out, and gave a really solid piece of information.
    The 2km was less so – you had the mini pause and lost a few seconds. Also, you haven’t been targeting 2kms, so you’re probably a bit slower than you would be just because of that.
    Peak Power is a pretty solid number, but again there’s a lot of practise in this; you’d be able to make that number jump up quite a bit, ignoring any physiological changes, just by doing the test a few times. (I went from 670w -> 753w in a month just by doing 10 * 10s, 1min rest 2 or 3 times a week. Didn’t change any of my race paces though sadly)
    The lactate testing gives you good lactate numbers, but there’s no calibration to it (as in, 2.0 isn’t necessarily the magic number for YOU – I know, it’s something you’re working off, but there’s some doubt as to the precise number for each individual, so I’d take this as a less solid indicator than the 6km for the purpose of the analysis).

    I’m not sure where I’m going with this, other than probably to say don’t read too much into this; I think it’ll be a more useful thing when you’ve gone through this cycle a few times and you can see what’s changing in response to what training you’ve done.

    Which is what you’re doing anyway 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • gregsmith01748 says:

      I agree with you completely. Testing will never be perfect, and you need to use a fair amount of judgement when you look at the results.

      Thinking specifically about the 2k, I think my little rest in the middle probably cost me about 4 seconds. But even considering that, my 6k was a much stronger performance. I’m actually glad to see that since that was how I skewed my fall training.

      I agree that the learning effect will probably have a bigger impact on power test results than my anaerobic fitness next time through. It will probably take a couple time through the protocol before my experience with the tests is less of a factor.

      I guess my thought is that even though testing is imperfect, it is a more objective way to tailor training than just going by judgement alone.


    • gregsmith01748 says:

      Thanks for pointing that out. I misread the definition. So, an all out HM would probably be a pretty good estimate for AeT? This seems to conflict with the definition of AeT as the power that can be sustained without significant lactate increase over time. In an all out 60 minute trial, my lactate levels at the end would be “significantly higher” than my resting level.

      I guess what matters is to use a definition that is consistent for the ratios presented in the book. If they define it as all out 75′ trial to measure the ratio to VO2Max, then it would be more aligned. From my 6K, if I use Paul’s law, I could probably do a 75′ piece at 220W (1:56.5). The ratio would be 68%, which is in the range predicted. So, my aerobic capacity is not as far off as I had thought.

      Liked by 1 person

      • bendredman says:

        I think AeT is the equivalent of the theoretical 4.0mmol level.
        2.0 is meant to be where your individual muscles are capable of processing all the lactate they produce.
        4.0 is meant to be where your muscles aren’t on their own, so some gets into your bloodstream. However, underutilised muscles and some organs (liver?) together are capable of processing all the lactate. Hence the stable levels.

        Over that level, you’ve got a constant increase, and it becomes less efficient.

        For a 60-75 minute test, you’d have to be close to that level or below it, otherwise you’d find it impossible due to lactate build up. You can go marginally above the power, and end up with much higher lactate levels, so testing may not give you your threshold lactate levels, but the power levels over that time-scale would be very close.

        Liked by 1 person

      • gregsmith01748 says:

        That certainly lined up with what I’ve read. I’ve heard it called MLSS (maximal lactate steady state) in some places. But my own experience doesn’t really bear it out. What I’ve found in my sessions is that I do not truly plateau above 2.0. If my lactates are around 2.0 at 20 minutes, they will be much higher at 80′. If they are below 2.0, they will probably be about the same.

        I could certainly pick a power that would yield 4.0mmol at 60′, but it would be higher at 75′.

        Maybe it’s a sign that I need way more endurance work?


      • bendredman says:

        Well, if a 2km is 20% aerobic, maybe 60 minutes is 10%, 75 7.5%, I figure doing a pace that yields 4.0 (assuming that is your AeT) over 60 minutes is going to mean you’re probably going over AeT (as it’ll be some kind of logarithmic scale that means you’ll never completely get to 4.0 if you we working at that level). Does that make sense?

        Either that or real life testing is way more messy than the theory… There are physiological changes that also make it impossible for it to work that cleanly. Your hydration levels drop (blood thickness), and your muscles as they’re used get weaker etc


      • gregsmith01748 says:

        So, I double checked Rowing Faster, and the definition in that chapter for AeT is:

        The aerobic threshold has been defined as the point just below the level of energy metabolism where blood lactate concentration increases distinctly from its resting level (Aunola & Rusko, 1986). It is also the exercise level below which the great majority of the muscle fibers are working aerobically (Antonutto & DiPrampero, 1995). This point generally occurs around 2 mmol (millimoles) of lactate (Antonutto & DiPrampero, 1995; Kindermann, Simon, & Keul, 1979; Skinner & McLellan, 1980).

        . Rowing Faster – 2nd Edition (Kindle Locations 1222-1225). Kindle Edition.

        So, Ed McNeely thinks it is the 2.0 mmol/l level. Maybe for elite athletes, going all out for 75 minutes has them still below 2.0mmol/l, but I kind of doubt it. On that basis, I am officially confused. The test for AeT is achieved power on a 75 minute test, but a 75′ test will likely drive lactates much higher than 2.0mmol/l, and probably higher than 4.0.

        However, as you suggest, a 75 minute test will be extremely well correlated with AeT since it will be more than 90% aerobic. (I think even higher than the 92.5% that you suggest, but that’s a quibble). So, perhaps this is an easier way to measure a ratio than by going directly from a lactate measurement of AeT. So, the 75′ test does not directly provide your true AeT, but as long as it is a consistent test, and it is well correlated with the AeT, who cares.


      • bendredman says:

        Ah! I think I’ve been talking about Anaerobic threshold. Or maybe it’s called something else, but it’s definitely a thing! And definitely what you’ll be close to for an hour or 75 minutes duration.

        I used to do 60 minutes, fast as possible rating 24, as a regular weekly session. My 2mmol levels had me going 2:02 pace. The 60 minutes came out at 1:54 ish (1:52.5 best). On average that was about a second a split slower, but I’d ramp it up over the last 10 minutes.


      • gregsmith01748 says:

        I don’t think you are the one that’s confused. The book talks about a 75 minute test for AeT and a 6K test for AnT. The book talks about AeT being equivalent to 2.0mmol intensity, but going hard for 75 minutes will undoubtable drive higher levels. The book also seems to reject the idea that AnT is 4.0mmol, and asserts that it is essentially “head race pace”. I’ll post an interesting table from the book in a minute.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Dan J says:

    Interesting results. As noted above regarding aerobic threshold, you’re probably better than that. In general it would be suprising to have a hump in your response – lousy aerobic capacity, then great threshold speed, then lacking VO2max. It’s usually lopsided.

    One question:

    > I designed a training plan to focus on head racing. I wanted to optimize my performance at the 5K to 6K distance, and it looks like that is what happened.

    What in particular makes you say that? Was it that your long intervals and hard distance workouts were a bit too similar and kind of bunched up around the threshold? Do you think you should have / should have done more long slow steady state?

    Liked by 1 person

    • gregsmith01748 says:

      The training plan I designed included 3 sessions per week of steady state endurance training, plus 3 sessions that were at head race pace and rate or a bit faster. These sessions included one “head race simulation”, a 5 to 6 k piece as fast as I could go, a set of 1500m to 2500m intervals about 3 to 5 seconds faster, and one set of short intervals with short rests at head race pace to work more on form and technique.

      I purposely didn’t do any real work on peak power or very fast sprint work because it wasn’t necessary for the head race distance. It wasn’t intentional, but I also noticed that my aerobic base had declined over the OTW season in terms of the power I could hold while maintaining <2mmol lactates. I suspect that this happened because I was pushing my steady state sessions too hard on the water. I started to get better after I dialed back the steady state paces.

      this might be a case of me fitting a preconceived notion to the data I have, but my 6k results were way better than either my 2k or aerobic results would predict.


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