Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Watts per...Pound

We signed up for some coaching for the last months before the race.  Mostly this gets us access to a lot of good group workouts which we have found really helpful, but one "perk" you get at sign up is an included lactate threshold test.  Lactate threshold is basically a measure of what heart rate or power output correlates to the beginning of accumulation of lactic acid in your muscles - ie, the pace where it starts to hurt more and more until you at one point have to stop.

The results:

Matt - Lactate threshold at 165 BPM, or 210 Watts  (3.19 W/kg)
Caroline - Lactate threshold at 155 BPM or 155 Watts (2.84 W/kg)

I remember reading once that to win the Tour de France, an athlete needed to have a threshold of about 6.5 W/kg.  So you could interpret this result as meaning that Lance Armstrong is quite literally twice as strong as me on a bike.  This is both impressive and disheartening.  I see three options:

a) put a lot more effort and dedication into training
b) lose 74 pounds
c) assume that the machine we used today was calibrated in Watts/pound and simply mislabelled, in which case I am already at 7 W/kg. So I can safely assume I will win the tour next year. And should probably train less.

Both (b) and (c) seem pretty reasonable.  Thoughts?

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