Welcome to the Coach's Corner! I (Elliott Baring) am an intern student for Podium Sports Medicine this Spring. I'm a college student from the University of North Georgia studying Exercise Physiology. I'm also a professional cyclist with a specific focus on marathon mountain bike and stage race events, as well as cyclocross in the Fall. Here at Podium, my internship will consist of working in the Performance Lab and as a cycling coach (USA Cycling certified). I will be frequently posting weekly blogs and weekly workouts so tune in and keep an eye out! Now let's get onward to the first Coach's Corner Talk!
As an endurance sports athlete, it's very important to test yourself frequently to check in on where your fitness lies. Consider it like a progress report; you get an insight of how you are adapting to a training block or program and allows you to see if you're improving, stagnating or declining. These results allow you to readjust your training plan; is it working and you need to increase your power or is it not working and you need to adjust and try a different method? Frequent testing allows you to update your zones to build off and train with for the rest of the season. A great opportunity for testing is when a new calendar year rolls around. It's an insight into how your fitness has been maintained over the off-season, and lets you hit the reset button when creating a new training plan for the upcoming season.
Now that I've explained a little about why you should test frequently, lets talk about why you should test in a physiology lab. Testing in a lab allows you to specifically target your zones; more precise than you would be able to on the road, or with "field testing". In the lab you are able to more precisely identify thresholds and zones because you are checking blood lactate levels in response to power (or pace) zones, rather than using the Rate of Perceived Exertion scale to check your efforts. Lab testing utilizes ramped protocols to slowly increase the effort and push the athlete to exhaustion. These ramped protocols are preferred over field tests because it takes the pacing strategy out of the equation. Testing in a lab might give you the opportunity of collecting other useful data such as VO2Max and VLaMax. A recent VeloNews article (VeloNews Training Plan, part 1) mentions the importance of testing specifically in a lab.
“A lactate test in a respected physiology lab is the best way to identify your zones. It’s worth the money and, if necessary, the travel.” -Trevor Conner
If you want to start 2018 off right, and crush the upcoming season, come into Podium Sports Medicine for some lab testing. We are currently running an offer through the end of January that is about 50% off INSCYD Physiological testing. We are fortunate enough to be one of the few facilities in the country that can utilize this type of testing. Give us a call soon and secure your spot before the offer ends!