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How Do Pro Cyclists & Triathletes Train?

Updated: Aug 23, 2023

Lactate Threshold Testing

The Pro Cyclist & Pro Triathlete Secret Training!!

Lactate Threshold Testing is used extensively in professional cycling and triathlon. Coaches and Teams use this test to ensure their athletes train at the correct intensity during EVERY session.

Now this form of testing is easily accessible to YOU!

• Do you take your training at least semi-seriously?

• Do you currently train using heart rate or power?

• Do you need to maximise every hour of training you have?

• Do you want to improve your performance?

If the answer to any of those questions is “Yes”, then you’re in the right place!

Keep reading to see how we can help you take your performance to the next level!

What is Blood Lactate?

Lactate appears in the blood during moderate to high intensity exercise as a by-product of anaerobic metabolism (energy synthesis without oxygen).

There is a common misconception that during intense exercise the uncomfortable burn in the muscles is from lactate, however the pain is likely caused by the increase in hydrogen ions which are produced alongside lactate in anaerobic metabolism causing acidosis.

Lactate is used during high intensity exercise as a fuel source and is therefore part of the recycling biochemistry to help cope with fatigue.

What is Lactate Threshold Testing?

Lactate threshold testing identifies the relationship between exercise intensity and blood lactate concentration. The test involves capillary blood sampling from the ear/finger using a lancet during an incremental exercise test. The test will consist of approximately 7 – 9 3-minute stages starting at an easy intensity and gradually getting harder. During the test you will wear a chest strap heart rate monitor and you will be asked to rate your perceived exertion at the end of each stage. A capillary blood sample will also be is taken at rest and after every stage. This test will continue until exhaustion to measure maximum power, heart rate and blood lactate which will allow more accurate training prescription above the second lactate threshold.

Lactate threshold testing identifies 2 main lactate thresholds:

•Lactate threshold 1

Where blood lactate begins to rise above resting levels due to a change from aerobic energy metabolism to a combination of aerobic and anaerobic energy metabolism.


Lactate threshold 2

Where blood lactate rises rapidly due to increased anaerobic metabolism.

The test itself will last approximately 30-40 minutes, although the appointment will be

approximately 1.5 hours to include screening, warm up, cool down and post-test analysis.

How Can Lactate Threshold Testing Help Me?

Every individual has different physiology due to differences in muscle fiber's, mitochondrial adaptation patterns, hormonal profiles etc. Therefore, individualised training zones are essential to ensure that you are training at the correct intensity.

The data collected from the lactate threshold test can be used to identify the two main lactate thresholds which will be used to accurately set your training zones with corresponding heart rate and power values. Training zones are used to ensure that you are training at the right intensity for your event/goal to gain the most benefit from your training.

The data collected from the test will also allow identification of race pace according to your goals. The physiological variables that impact performance will vary depending on the event you are training for, so getting your training right for your event and your current physiological status is important.

Dangers of Training without Knowing your Lactate Threshold

Training without knowledge of your physiology can mean that you are not training at the right intensity for your goals and therefore not making efficient use of your training. This is basically just wasting your precious training time.

Without an individualised training plan the risks of overtraining, injury and illness are significantly increased.

Your physiology will change as you train for an event your thresholds and therefore training zones will also change. To ensure you are getting the most out of your training you should re-test your lactate thresholds every few months.

For more information and To book a Blood Lactate Threshold Test just click the box below and take your training to the next level.

More Ways we can help

Thank you for taking the time to read our “Lactate Threshold Testing” Blog.

If you would like to ask any questions more specific to your training, please

email me at and I will get back to you.

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