MLSS II

More masochistic fun for distance and sprint athletes alike.

The Maximum Lactate Steady State (MLSS) test is based on the assumption that at the individual Anaerobic Threshold (iAnT) lactate production becomes greater than lactate removal.

This test requires the athlete to first raise their blood lactate levels as high as possible through completing two x 2:00 minutes all out wiht 10:00 minutes of recovery (easy exercise) between the two efforts. After the last 2:00 effort we assume blood lactate levels are high.

From there we begin exercising at low HR values for 3-4 minutes at each step of the test. I would select a value close to the Aerobic Threshold (AeT) to begin as this ensures minimal lactate production. From there we can do 3-4 minutes of exercise at this HR (take a lactate sample), then 3-4 minutes increasing the HR by 10, and repeat until failure to complete 3-4 minutes.

What we will see, if everything worked out well, is the lactate value dropping while the HR/effort is below the MLSS value. As we approach MLSS, the rate of change in lactate will slow to nothing, then begin increasing again. The resulting curve is U-shaped wiht the MLSS value at the bottom of the U. See the next graph for an illustration of this (FYI same Ironman triathlete as the run iAnT curves were generated for- no injuries training going well samples taken in June 2005. I felt the bike fitness would estimate the MLSS value accurately given the intensity training that we had accomplished in the past few months).



You can eyeball the bottom of the U curve or be a geek and have your graphing software do a polynomial regression on the curve and then figure out inflexion point using calculus. And who said we’d never use calculus outside of high school?

The geeky method suggested a MLSS HR of 163. Now this value is definitely not your very long duration race pace. MLSS is often a very hard distance race pace, that can last from 15 to 60+ minutes depending on the athlete. Motivation, fatigue, hydration, glycogen levels, etc. all play critical roles in competing at MLSS. For longer events MLSS-2 or 3 beats/minute may be prescribed as a target HR. For shorter events, MLSS +2 or 3 beats may be prescribed.

An distance athlete dedicated to racing at thier optimal performacen level would learn their MLSS, then train to race at that value using shorter efforts at that intensity. For example;

week 1 4 x 4:00 min @ MLSS on 4:00 min easy
week 2 4 x 4:00 min @ MLSS on 3:00 min easy
week 3 4 x 4:00 min @ MLSS on 2:00 min easy
week 4 4 x 4:00 min @ MLSS on 1:00 min easy
week 5 3 x 6:00 min @ MLSS on 2:00 min easy or 2 x 8:00 @ MLSS or 16:00 min @ MLSS
week 6 you get the idea but gradually increasing the duration or shortening the recovery. If you manage 16:00 @ MLSS, you could even begin over at week 1 doing 5-7 x 4:00 min @ MLSS on 4:00 min and work at that. The possibilities are endless.

This sort of workout is HARD though and doing it more than 1-2 x week will leave you exhausted and can place your paddling performance at risk. However, applied at the right time and correctly administered you will eventually get faster at longer distances.

Alan Carlsson
Engineered Athlete Services

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