3in1Sports offers lactate-based exercise testing to map an athlete’s physiological profile. The test was developed by Shannon Grady1 and measures your pace (running), wattage (biking), heart rate and lactate in a progressive intensity protocol. The test provides insight into which energy systems you have currently available. The aerobic energy supply is subdivided into six subsystems; the anaerobic side in two subsystems, which gives detailed insight into your physiological profile. The test also shows your training zones. For running the zones are specified in heart rate zones and speed, for biking in heart rate and wattage.
Below you can see the BEPS™-scores of two athletes, both with a Functional Threshold Power (FTP) of 275Watts. Based on a FTP-test both athletes would get the same training advice, as they both have a FTP of 275Watts. The BEPS™-scores (BioEnergic Power Scores) however show that their physiological profile is different. This means that the same training will affect Erik differently than Mark. They need individualised training zones and individualised periodisation to optimally train for their races.
Erik has seven out of eight systems active; Mark five. This implies Mark should first expand his domain of available energy systems by activating his ARC-1 (Aerobic Rate Capacity – the upper side of his aerobic system) and his ANRC-2 (ANerobic Rate Capacity – the lower side of his anaerobic system), before advancing into his specific training period. Tim already has sufficient basis to start his specific training.
The heart rate and wattage zones also differ.
|Zones Erik||Zones Mark|
|Heart rate||Wattage||Heart rate||Wattage|
|Zone 1 max||141||LTCC||247-253||Zone 1 max||131||LTCC||237-243|
|Zone 2 min||142||ARC-3||258-266||Zone 2 min||132||ARC-3||248-255|
|Zone 2 max||162||ARC-2||267-274||Zone 2 max||152||ARC-2||256-262|
|Zone 3 min||163||ARC-1||279-284||Zone 3 min||153||ARC-1||267-272|
|Zone 3 max||171||ANRC-2||>291||Zone 3 max||161||ANRC-2||>279|
Heart rate zones are personal. We also see that Erik and Mark have their individual zones. Also their wattage zones differ, what is different from what you might expect: both have a FTP of 275 Watts. According to wattage-based training literature, the renowned sweet spot training should be executed within 83-97% of one’s FTP: between 228-267 Watt. Lactate-tested training zones prescribe a narrower subdivision of training intensities which allow you to train more accurately and systematically what you want to develop.
… to periodisation…
To further elaborate this example to a meso-cycle, we should know for what event each is training. Erik is training for a sprint triathlon – a one-hour race – while Mark wants to race an IM 70.3. Erik has 20 weeks to prepare for his peak race; Mark’s IM70.3 is in 16 weeks.
For Erik, his LTCC-system (Lactate Tolerance, Capacity & Clearing – the ability to go hard for one hour) is the system that needs to be optimised in the final preparation. Mark has to optimally train his PAC-system (Prolonged Aerobic Capacity – the ability to produce a four to five hour aerobic effort) to enable him to race his IM70.3
As it takes more time to optimise the PAC-system (eight to ten weeks) than the LTCC-system (six weeks) and Erik can directly start his specific training whilst Mark first has to develop his physiological profile, both have a different periodisation towards their peak event.
A) Aerobic Foundation (AF) – 4 weeks, with ARC-2 progressing to ARC-1 intervals
B) ARC-3 (Aerobic Rate Capacity-3) – 5 weeks, including priming the ARC-1 system
C) ARC-1 (Aerobic Rate Capacity-1) – 5 weeks
D) LTCC (Lactate Tolerance, Capacity & Clearing) – 6 weeks, including maintaining the ARC-1 systeem
A) NAGS (Neuromuscular Adaptation & Glycogen Sparing) – 3 weeks, including activating ARC-2 and ARC-1
B) ARC-2 (Aerobic Rate Capacity – 2) – 5 weeks
C) PAC (Prolonged Aerobic Capacity) – 8 weeks
… to training schedule
The last step is translating the periodisation into the training program. We concentrate on Mark and show the first week of each training stage.
NAGS – Neuromuscular Adaptation & Glycogen Sparing (3 weeks)
The first NAGS period of three weeks is geared towards recovery and activating his ARC-2 system. Each training is maximum one hour and the focus is on developing the aerobic foundation. Per week two sessions are planned to develop the ARC-2 system – the upper side of the aerobic system. These interval session start modestly: 10 minutes (30sec at ARC-2 intensity, followed by 30sec jog). The duration of the intervals gradually builds during the three weeks. The number of training hours for this first week is 6h30.
ARC-2 – Aerobic Rate Capacity (5 weeks)
The second period takes five weeks, which is concentrating on increasing the Aerobic Rate Capacity. Two times per week an ARC-2 interval is scheduled. Also this stage has mainly aerobic foundation training sessions to further develop this essential system. The training load in this week is 11h25.
Prolonged Aerobic Capacity (8 weeks)
The final stage focuses on race-specific training session: intervals at race pace (Prolonged Aerobic Capacity). Twice a week a block training is scheduled and once a week a shorter ARC-2 session to maintain the upper side of the aerobic system. Raymond now has a strong enough foundation to be able to handle the length and intensity of the sessions in this last stage. The weekly number of training hours has increased to 14h50.
1 The Science of Quantifying, Predicting, and Improving Human Performance (2020) – Shannon Grady