Triathlon lactate threshold: Interval training for the bike

When training for the bike leg of a triathlon, consistently engaging the body’s lactate production mechanism is key to a faster race pace on the bike and a smoother transition from bike to run. If you don’t know too much about lactate threshold, click here for a previous article on the subject. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to train at the lactate threshold for long periods of time, such as the time it takes to complete an Olympic-distance 40km time trial. This is because the body buffers lactic acid by combining lactic acid’s hydrogen ions with carbon dioxide (for subsequent transport into the bloodstream and removal as carbon dioxide in the lungs). To vent that CO2 and maintain a physiologically normal blood pH, you must maintain a level of ventilation that can be quite difficult. Plus, that acid burn just *hurts*!

A good approach to this paradox is to spend a short time at the lactate threshold. By pushing at the right intensity for 2-5 minutes, you can gradually increase the body’s tolerance to lactic acid and the body’s ability to use lactic acid for fuel, while training the body to work at higher energy output while using less lactic acid to produce acid.

As your lactate tolerance increases, the goal is to eventually “string together” those short lactate threshold intervals to create a long intensity effort at race pace. Here’s an example of an interval training series you can use to achieve this adaptation:

Find a path, route, or road that is relatively flat (the occasional rolling hill is fine). 10 minute warm-up spin.

At the first mile mark after warming up, shift up 2-3 gears and sprint as hard as you can for 30 pedal strokes. This starts the production of lactic acid.

After the sprint, sit from a standing start and reduce the gearing so that 90 rpm or more is possible. Keep the “burn” in your legs and push at 85-95% to the next mile marker. Depending on how fast you drive, this is an interval of 1.5 to 4 minutes.

When you reach the next mile marker, shift down a gear and maintain the same cadence, working at around 55-65% effort. This is your rest interval, lasting until the next mile marker.

Repeat the standing to seated time trial sprint for the next mile. Complete 4-10 intervals, alternating every kilometer from lactate threshold to light pedaling.

Do this workout once a week for 2 weeks. After 2 weeks, choose one of the intervals and do a 2:1 work-rest interval, which means you’ll be pushing 2 miles hard instead of just 1 mile (on only *one* of your intervals) and resting for the normal 1 mile. So if you completed 8 intervals of eight 1-mile sprints and eight 1-mile rests, you will now do one 2-mile sprint and six 1-mile sprints with seven 1-mile rests.

Next week, reduce the number of intervals and again connect two 1-mile segments together. Continue to keep your rest intervals at just 1 mile.

Continue to “string together” your lactate threshold efforts each week. After 2-3 months you will be able to sustain a much higher race pace intensity without burning out before the end of the time trial.
Remember to allow adequate rest and recovery after intense interval training and you will see great performance results!

If you want more workouts or would like your entire season’s workouts to be designed for every single day throughout the year based on your personal schedule, limitations or goals, visit us http://www.pacificfit.netand view triathlon coaching options or contact us [email protected] for more informations.

Thanks to Ben Greenfield | #Triathlon #lactate #threshold #Interval #training #bike

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