VO2max and lactate threshold testing – English version

In late January I took a VO2max and lactate test after Bicimetrics got Mathias Nothegg in NOM Training, which normally housed in Gran Canaria on a visit on Mallorca.

The test protocol was as following:

Start cycling at 80 watts with an increase of 40 watts every four minutes to exhaustion. Lactate samples are taken at the end of every 4 min, while the other parameters are measured continuously.

Allan Hovda - VO2maks

My VO2max ended at 70.0 mL/min/kg after 2.5 minutes at 400 watts weighing in at 68,5 kg. It’s exactly the same result I got last time I tested VO2max for almost 2 years ago. Disappointed? In some ways, yes. Initially only a lactate test was planned and that does not require 100 % recovered legs to give a good result. Therefore I chose not to waste a potentially good training day and spent the day in advance to ride 6.5 hours in the Tramuntana Mountains. It was a very nice ride but it also made sure that my legs were not super fresh for the testing. In combination with missing the mental edge to push 100 % I felt I gave up the test to early and underperformed.

That said it is 70.0 in VO2max good on the bike (have I historically been better when done running) especially considering that test protocol is not optimized to give the highest possible VO2max. In other VO2max tests the workload is increased with 30 watts each minute so the time to exhaustion is shorter and you will be able to push a higher top watt and also higher VO2max. Mathias believed that it could have given me a couple of more mL /min/kg higher result by that test protocol, but the point was not to get VO2max value as high as possible at all cost. A high VO2max crucial for a being a excellent endurance athlete, but when you come up to a certain level in VO2max it is not that important anymore. To put it another way, 70 is almost a minimum level for an endurance athletes at the elite level, but there is no clear correlation between performance and VO2max when VO2max in athletes is typically between 70 and 90, which you will find at the Tour de France.

So what is the point of test on highest possible VO2max value is not so significant? We get a lot of other significant information that enables me to control my workout more efficiently.

Allan Hovda - Laktattest - anaerob terskel

My anaerobic threshold was calculated to be 280 watts, which is the end of my ground base zone or Ironman race pace, while my Respiratory Compansation Point (RC), similar to Functional Threshold Power was calculated to be 330 watts.

To become more efficient on IM Race Pace as suggested Mathias that I should do more 20 minute intervals at 280 watts with a gradual build-up to 6 x 20 min with 5min break.

The length of the FTP intervals mine, which I typically have done 4 x 15 minutes or even more, he recommended reducing the time to 6-7 x 7 minutes at 330/340 watts.

Allan Hovda - ventilatory
A second improvement was my lungs’ ability to get rid of CO2, which was within the norm (the blue spectrum), but should have been outside on the upper part, which is better than normal spectrum. To improve this, then short sprints on my long rides would be effective. 4 x 20 sec all-out with / 40 sec easy between ones each hour.
Allan Hovda - fettforbrenningsevne
I have previously alleged in an earlier blog post that I am a fat burning machine, but under this test I was clearly no such thing. At 280 watts, AT, only 20 % of my energy came from fat. I believe the reason for that was the amount of carbohydrates in my body, which was fully loaded after a good portion of oatmeal before the test. The body uses the energy, which is easiest available, and since I had plenty of carbs that affected the results. If I had been fasting the day before I believe that the result had been totally different, but that also would impair my VO2max performance. Mathias was perhaps not agree with this and believed that the intervals at 280 watts will increase the efficiency of its intensity.

Are you considering taking a VO2max and lactate test? Mathias Nothegg in NOM Training is highly recommended because of the good information I got about the significance of the results and his recommendations on adjusting the training program. He keeps to Gran Canaria / Lanzarote and a lactate and VO2max test costs € 229 and is worth every euro. He will be back in Mallorca for the period of 15 – 21 of March so get in touch if you are interested and on the Island then.

Triallan - Allan Hovda - Mallorca - VO2maks - laktat - terskel - NOM Training - Bicimetrics-2
My Shiv was ready, but was the rider ready?

Triallan - Allan Hovda - Mallorca - VO2maks - laktat - terskel - NOM Training - Bicimetrics

Triallan - Allan Hovda - Mallorca - VO2maks - laktat - terskel - NOM Training - Bicimetrics-3
I cannot say that I love to put the mask on because it means the same as cycling to exhaustion. The result of the test on the other hand, I like very well and it gives good information to adjust and optimize my training.
Triallan - Allan Hovda - Mallorca - VO2maks - laktat - terskel - NOM Training - Bicimetrics-6
Cycle to exhaustion – you can look to my face that this is fun;) Fortunately, the pain is for a relatively short period 😀

Triallan - Allan Hovda - Mallorca - VO2maks - laktat - terskel - NOM Training - Bicimetrics-4Triallan - Allan Hovda - Mallorca - VO2maks - laktat - terskel - NOM Training - Bicimetrics-7

Triallan - Allan Hovda - Mallorca - VO2maks - laktat - terskel - NOM Training - Bicimetrics-8
The blood lactate level gets measuered at the end of each 4 minutes step. 12,4 mol was my value after exhaustion, which is high, but I know I can push more then that!
Triallan - Allan Hovda - Mallorca - VO2maks - laktat - terskel - NOM Training - Bicimetrics-10
A good explanation of the results so that I actually understand what they mean and how I can adjust my training to become even better is incredibly important. If you do a test I recommend that you find a good tester with knowledge in triathlon training and the skills to teach us less knowledgeable. In that way Mathias was great.
Triallan - Allan Hovda - Mallorca - VO2maks - laktat - terskel - NOM Training - Bicimetrics-11
Thanks to Bicimetrics to put me in touch with Mathias and provide me with transport back and forth to take the test 🙂 They now offer lactate testing in their shop i Mallorca.
Allan Hovda - VO2maks - laktattest full - Nom Training
The full report can be read above

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I am a 33 year old PRO triatlete. My goal is to swim, bike and run as fast as possible, and enjoy the journey. All my adventures and triathlon related stuff is well documented on this blog.

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