Sunday: 4 x 20′ L4

A bit stiff and sore from the race yesterday, but time to get on with life.

Plan:

  • 4 x 20′ / 1′ rest
  • L4 format
    • base: 17 spm and 160W
    • 10W increase for each spm increase
  • HR limit at 155
  • Lactate test at 60′
  • Start low and build through first 10 minutes.

I wanted to do an L4 session because there has been a lot of discussion over on the concept forum about that style of workout.  But from my experience with L4 workouts, they tend to be too intense, so while this workout was in L4 format, it was not a “by the book” L4 workout.  What do I mean by that?  By L4 format, I mean that the workout has specific strokes rate and power defined in intervals and blocks.  But I did not use the tables from the WP to define the paces, instead I used a constant power per stroke.  I also constrained the stroke rates much more than a real L4.  I went in steps of 1 stroke from 17 to 21 strokes per minute.  The 2 spm jumps make the workout a lot more dynamic and tougher in my opinion.

2016-09-18-15-26-07

The stroke sequence I did was

  • First 20′ block
    • 1st 10′:  180 – 4′ @ 17 (160W), 3′ @ 18, 2′ @ 19, 1′ @ 20
    • 2nd 10′: 194 – 2′ @ 19, 2′ @ 20, 2′ @ 19, 2′ @ 20, 2′ @ 19 (this should be just below 185W)
  • Second 20′ block
    • 3rd 10′: 196 – 2′ @ 20, 2′ @ 19, 2′ @ 20, 2′ @ 19, 2′ @ 20 (this should be just above 185W)
    • 4th 10′: 194 – 2′ @ 19, 2′ @ 20, 2′ @ 19, 2′ @ 20, 2′ @ 19
  • Third 20′ block
    • 5th 10′: 198 – 2′ @ 19, 2′ @ 20, 2′ @ 21, 2′ @ 20, 2′ @ 19 (so, just 2′ at 200W in the  middle)
    • 6th 10′:196 – 2′ @ 20, 2′ @ 19, 2′ @ 20, 2′ @ 19, 2′ @ 20
    • Lactate test here was 2.6 mmol/l
  • Fourth block
    • 7th 10′: 194 – 2′ @ 19, 2′ @ 20, 2′ @ 19, 2′ @ 20, 2′ @ 19
    • 8th 10′: 188 – 2′ @ 18, 2′ @ 19, 2′ @20, 2′ @ 19, 2′ @ 18
    • Lactate test here was 2.5mmol/l

So, from a HR perspective, this was right on target.  But from a lactate perspective, it was just a little bit too intense.  I did a lactate test at 60′ and it was 2.6mmol/l.  I repeated it at 80′ and it was 2.5mmol/l.  From an RPE perspective, everything was feeling great, until I did the sequence at the beginning of the third section.  As soon as I did the little chunk at r21 and 200W, I felt like I got behind and never caught up.  Essentially, it felt like I flipped the switch that started to shut down the fat metabolism.

This provides an interesting data point to compare to a session where I start the same way, increasing my power during the first 10 minutes, but then settle on exactly 185 for the rest of the way.  Then repeat the lactate tests.  The theory would be that I would get a lower lactate reading by avoiding the higher powers.

This raises all kinds of interesting questions in my mind.

  • Many sports (like cycling) have intermittent bursts of high intensity, with stretches of lower power stuff.  How long does it take to get fat metabolism going again after you kick in with CHO?
  • Would it be good to try to train the response by doing just what an L4 does?  By dropping in some higher power chunks, will it help you develop the ability to process more lactate, or is it better to just gradually increase the training power?
  • Does it really matter?

One thought on “Sunday: 4 x 20′ L4

  1. sanderroosendaal says:

    In his book on swimming training, Olbrecht mentions combining ANC (lactate producing anaerobe capacity) short speed intervals at the beginning of a session, and then to continue with AEC (aerobe capacity) steady state stuff.

    My guess is you need at least 20 minutes of steady state before you are back in fat burning territory. It could be tested with lactate measurement.

    I am going to do that OTW tomorrow. Without the lactate testing though.

    Like

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