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Lactate threshold in colder temperatures

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Lactate threshold in colder temperatures

Old 11-13-12, 08:25 AM
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Lactate threshold in colder temperatures

Last weeks lactate threshold test was on the indoor computrainer - 20 minute test. For the test, my heart rate at lactate threshold was 171. The temperature was 'normal' within the building we did the testing at... probably around 68-70ish.

So, my question is, will does my heart rate 'zones' (based on 171) change in colder weather? I'm finding that my zone 2 based off of 171, in cold weather, is fairly difficult to maintain. Is there some guildeline I can go by when figuring out my zones in extremem temperatures? This morning it was a brisk 25 F. So, my zone 2 I have been using, is 141 to 152. In x degrees, how should I change my expected zones by? For instance, in 25 F, it would change to something like 135 to 146. My bet is there's no standard 'formula', just train on how you feel... but thought I'd ask for others opinions.
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Old 11-13-12, 08:56 AM
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My understanding is the LTHR shouldn't change that much (unlike FTP which can shift a fair bit over time with training) - as it's a physiologically based number that's dictated by how quickly you can clear lactic acid. Your perceived exertion to HR ratio may be quite different, but I would think your LTHR should remain the same.
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Old 11-13-12, 09:15 AM
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Your LTHR and Zones technically do not change in cold weather. However, your exertion will seem higher and your HR will go up faster and be harder to bring back down.

When you are riding in the cold, you body is working to not only keep riding, but also to keep you warm. This often results in a faster heart rate for a given effort.
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Old 11-13-12, 11:34 AM
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It is kind of puzzling to me. I'm always 1 to 1.5 mph slower over a given course when it's cold, 50F or lower, even though my avg HR is the same or even higher. I wear tights and a close fitting jacket, my skin feels cool or even cold, yet I still sweat. I don't think the tights and jacket increase drag that much.
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Old 11-13-12, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by topflightpro
When you are riding in the cold, you body is working to not only keep riding, but also to keep you warm. This often results in a faster heart rate for a given effort.
Well, if thats the case I wish my body wouldn't try so hard to keep warm. I usually end up overheating, even if I start out freezing my ass off during the warmup.
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Old 11-13-12, 11:39 AM
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I find I lactate more in warmer temps...
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Old 11-13-12, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Looigi
It is kind of puzzling to me. I'm always 1 to 1.5 mph slower over a given course when it's cold, 50F or lower, even though my avg HR is the same or even higher. I wear tights and a close fitting jacket, my skin feels cool or even cold, yet I still sweat. I don't think the tights and jacket increase drag that much.
The air is denser at colder temps...that may not explain all, but it accounts for some of your slower speed.
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Old 11-13-12, 11:48 AM
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Indoors you're not getting enough air flow so you're overheated. That means that your HR is higher for the same power output than it would be on the road in reasonable temperatures.
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Old 11-13-12, 12:09 PM
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IME in the mountains and skiing, I think it's possible that lung transpiration is slower in cold temperatures. Studies have found that we are fastest at about 50° because we can get rid of heat better. I think that's true. However, that means that we're slower when it's colder than that. These are lab temps, no wind resistance, but with fans. I'd be interested in seeing any studies about this.
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Old 11-13-12, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by kevmk81
Last weeks lactate threshold test was on the indoor computrainer - 20 minute test. For the test, my heart rate at lactate threshold was 171. The temperature was 'normal' within the building we did the testing at... probably around 68-70ish.
Were you doing an actual lactate threshold test where blood samples were taken or trying to establish your functional threshold power (FTP). Actual lactate threshold power/HR is normally lower than your FTP.

In any case, if you did it indoors it's likely your HR would be significantly higher than when riding at the same power outdoors. The ambient temp indoors isn't really important. What matters is the amount of airflow you had as most of the cooling will be evaporative and you need multiple large fans to get close to simulating the cooling you get outdoors.

Ideally, you would just a 20-60min test outdoors and base your outdoor training on that HR.
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Old 11-13-12, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by mihlbach
The air is denser at colder temps...that may not explain all, but it accounts for some of your slower speed.
It's a big, big part of the equation - https://www.icebike.org/Articles/SlowerWinter.htm
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Old 11-13-12, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by gregf83
Were you doing an actual lactate threshold test where blood samples were taken or trying to establish your functional threshold power (FTP). Actual lactate threshold power/HR is normally lower than your FTP.

In any case, if you did it indoors it's likely your HR would be significantly higher than when riding at the same power outdoors. The ambient temp indoors isn't really important. What matters is the amount of airflow you had as most of the cooling will be evaporative and you need multiple large fans to get close to simulating the cooling you get outdoors.

Ideally, you would just a 20-60min test outdoors and base your outdoor training on that HR.
Yeah, it was on an indoor computrainer. I have my FTP from the test I did with part of my team... also had a heart rate monitor on me so I could use my average heart rate for those 20 minutes to figure my other zones to train with. No blood samples taken.

It makes sense, if I'm going to be training outdoors, I need to test to see how I do outdoors. Indoor training will be using power anyways. I guess using a heart rate monitor indoors was sort of pointless at this point of the season.
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Old 11-13-12, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi
It's a big, big part of the equation - https://www.icebike.org/Articles/SlowerWinter.htm
At very cold temperatures, yes, but the difference between pressures at 25 degrees and 5 degrees C isn't all that much.

A big part of the slower speed in cold climate is psychosomatic. If you are used to going out cycling in warm, dry conditions, you will mentally struggle more when it's cold and wet. It's a big reason why Miguel Indurain struggled so much in the Vueltas he did; his best performances were in hot, dry conditions. Compare with Sean Kelly who excelled in conditions more akin to his Irish homeland.

Basically, if you're dreading getting out when it's cold and wet, that will affect you more than someone who looks out their window and smiles at sleety conditions.
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Old 11-13-12, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by kevmk81
Indoor training will be using power anyways. I guess using a heart rate monitor indoors was sort of pointless at this point of the season.
If you're training with power you can pretty much ignore the HR stuff. Lots of people using power meters don't bother with the HRM strap. At best tracking your HR while you're training with power gives you another data point to correlate, and can be of some value. But follow the power meter for setting efforts, not HR.
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Old 11-13-12, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Gordy748
At very cold temperatures, yes, but the difference between pressures at 25 degrees and 5 degrees C isn't all that much.
Did you read the first post? Did you read what I linked to? Who's talking about 25* and 5* C? OP states 70* and 25* F, respectively.
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Old 11-13-12, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Gordy748
At very cold temperatures, yes, but the difference between pressures at 25 degrees and 5 degrees C isn't all that much..
I kind of dismissed it too without giving it any thought, but in your example 20/300 Kelvin = ~7% increase in air density and drag. Figure in reduced absolute humidity and it's denser yet.

For a similar Fahrenheit example, 80F is 540 Rankine. Drop that to 40F and that's a ~40/540 = 7%

I would think that accounts for significant part of my 1-1.5 mph drop in the cold.

Last edited by Looigi; 11-13-12 at 04:53 PM.
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