I went for a lactate test today at Endurance Lab. I wanted to have the test done so that I could learn about my heart rate zones and how I should be training.
I met with Adam and he spent a few minutes asking about my run history. He then explained how the test would work: 10 min warm-up, then 3 min easy pace and blood test, ramp up speed, repeat. He said that we would keep going until he saw the "magic number" of lactic acid content, which should feel like a 9/10 effort.
So, I walked briskly for 10 min. Then he set the TM to 5.0 mph and I ran for 3 min, then hopped into the side and he took a blood sample (just a little pin prick, nothing painful). Speed increased to to 5.5 mph, I did 2 sets of 3 min. Speed increased to 6.0 mph, I did 3 sets of 3 min and starting feeling like I was getting close to that 9/10 effort :O So, he ended the test there. It turned out that my lactate had increased quite a bit from the 1st test to the 2nd test @ 6.0 mph, so he knew I was getting close to my threshold.
He calculated my HR zones to be:
Zone 1: < 145
Zone 2: 150 - 160
Zone 3 : 160 - 170
Zone 4: 175 - 180
Zone 5: 185 - 190
He gave me a printout of this, and also my suggested heart rates for race durations from 20 min to 3 + hours. My estimated lactate threshold is 6.25 mph @ HR 180, which is pretty close to my 10k race pace.
Zone 2 is the base-building zone, or what I should be at during an LSD. I was very happy to learn that I am training in the proper HR zone. I always worried about that, because when I see the training logs of other people, I see HR's in the 130's and 140's...my HR is never that low while running! But apparently, that's because that is not how my body is built...so that's good.
He also studied my form and cadence. My form is good and compact, but I carry my arms a little far forward (extra strain on shoulders and back). I'm a heel-striker, which he says is hard to change :( but doing things like jumping rope and running stairs, which require you to land mid-foot, can help with that. My cadence is bang on: 89 - 92 steps while I was running at 6.0 mph :D. Increased fitness will make those steps longer and stronger ;)
Oh, he also gave me tips on fueling...apparently, I fuel too little during my races. He recommended a gel per 30 min, while I only take 1 per hour.
Overall, very useful information :) Now I can carry on with my base building and start with the interval training as I get closer to Chilly! The test cost $130, which I thought was well worth it.
Oh yes, and I treated myself to a soy latte and biscotti afterwards ;)