In cycling nowadays, apart from knowing how to choose your bike components and accessories, it’s essential to train endurance and strength. This is why it’s important to know about and work on our lactic threshold.
What is lactic threshold?
Technically, lactic threshold (LT) or anaerobic threshold is the exertion level at which there is a substantial increase in the amount of lactate (lactic acid) in the bloodstream. At this point, our body urgently needs energy and switches to burning carbohydrates.
In other words, it indicates our performance limit, that is, it’s impossible to perform at a higher output after this point. Therefore, it’s crucial for cyclists to increase their lactic threshold in order to last longer without fatigue.
The negative effects of avoiding LT training for cycling
There are consequences to not working on our lactic threshold:
On long routes, it’s inevitable to run into roads or stretches that force us into high-intensity efforts. If we’re underprepared, we will experience serious fatigue.
Advantages of increasing lactic threshold
LT training will be very beneficial in many aspects, especially if you are a cyclist or do any other sport:
Measure and improve your lactic threshold
At the beginning, our lactic threshold will be about 70-80% of our heart rate. Our aim will be to get it closer to 95%, which will be as close as possible to maximum oxygen consumption.
As mentioned, the best way to approach LT training is with short, high-intensity exercises. It’s very important to learn what your heart rate at your threshold is, which you can do either at a lab or by performing the Conconi Test.
The Conconi Test is based on measuring your heart rate while performing progressively more intense exercises, establishing a positive direct relationship – that is, heart rate will increase as the intensity of the exercise increases.
At a certain point this direct relationship is broken and heart rate stabilises despite the increase in the intensity of the exercise. That point is our lactic threshold.
With a LT at 170 bpm the following training sets are recommended:
It’s advisable to carry out intervals at 5 to 10 bpm below your threshold, keeping in mind that exercises that push your bpm closer to the threshold should be shorter.
In short, if you’re into cycling, you should find out what your lactic threshold is because improving it will bring you huge benefits, so go for it!