Lactate Testing Adventures…part 1

By March 29, 2013Coaching, Fitness, Fuel, Triathlon
Do you like being pricked in the finger while running at top speed on a treadmill?  Me too!  See?  We have more in common than apples and orange Tic Tacs.  
I am not sure what your reasoning is, but I like being pricked in the finger because I believe it can help make me stronger and faster.  Totally logical.  Here’s why…
In fall 2008, Coach Gareth Thomas gave me an offer I could not refuse– a scholarship position on the UCLA triathlon team.  I would get to train under his expert coaching and supervision, with high level athletes, at quality facilities.  He introduced me to his lactate test-based training plan, which was perfectly confusing to me at first.  I had no idea what all this finger pricking business meant, or how it could help me bike and run faster, but I took his word for it.
As I trained under coach G, and occasionally went back to his “lab” to be pricked in the finger numerous times, the point of this “lactate” business become clearer.  I also began taking upper division exercise physiology classes, where I had the advantage of knowing from experience what “lactate threshold” means.  I became a bigger believer throughout my two years racing for UCLA, as I saw my lactate profile improve dramatically in conjunction with my heart rate and performance.
Upon graduating in 2010, I stepped away from lactate-based training for a time (2010-2012), until Gareth kindly offered to take me back under his wing.  In December, after an extended break from any sort of training, I returned to the lab to be pricked in the fingers once again.  I laughed as I saw my lactate levels reach record highs as I biked and ran at record low speed and power.  Now, after 12 weeks of training based on my December profile results, I get to see if this phase of training has caused a shift in the lactate and heart rate profiles…
Here is a breakdown of my journey down to the Trio lab in Brentwood last week:

Coach G bought me special magic water for my bottle during the test, which proved to truly be effective, as my results showed.
Bike lactate test on stationary trainer.  Gradual increase in effort over about 45 minutes.
Lots of heavy breathing and laughing at myself.
Finger pricking.
Excellent improvement in test results since December.  Lactate nearly half previous levels.
G, in a fantastic mood, escorts me to car park, brings my bike, AND gives me a box of new pink compression calf sleeves!
Low blood sugar, dehydrated, sweaty, smelly, discombobulated, try to arrange bike neatly in back seat.
Nosh on a mozzarella/tomato/pesto sammy w/ greens.
Change into my new favorite pink Fluid t-shirt…spilled dressing on my t-shirt :
Excited for research/thesis project this summer with Picky Bar.
Stop at Natural Cafe in Moorpark.
YUM grilled veggie quesadilla. Lots of h2o. Peed 2x.
Beautiful drive home through Somis.  Sun coming down.  Green. Cows (Mooo!). Country music.
Talk with my mom about our “love languages”.
My prince charming + tea and meringues dipped in melted chocolate chips.
Oh…and I brought my camera:

New favorite topping: birthday cake pieces

What a pleasant surprise gift…these calf sleeves are wondrous inventions

You can’t even see the best part: roasted cauliflower, broccoli, squash and onions stuffed in these babies!

I have a disappearing act that I like to perform on food. voila!

best way to eat a meringue

Full day packed with loved ones, excitement, travel, pain, and yummy food.

I got to go back to Trio this week for the run lab test, which once again showed drastic improvements in fitness (lower lactate and lower heart rate).  More about the science behind lactate testing and lab results coming soon.
Thanks G!

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