Conclusions knowing Lactate Rate / VLaMax

Hey fellow TrainerRoadies,

started with structured training in January 2018 with a visit to a sportslab here in germany to determine my fitness and get some general training knowledge. Those guys are involved with several successful pro-triathletes/cyclists and basicly assessing your VLaMax and Vo2Max to get lactate threshold with two tests and bloody ear-pinching. While more than happy with TR and my results within the year I went again this week to see what has changed.

Vo2Max from 49 ml/min/kg to 56 ml/min/kg, VLaMax from 0,53 mmol/l/s to 0,57, resulting lactate threshold at 257w

So far so good, the word of advice was to focus more on lowering my VLaMax since Vo2Max might be more difficult to raise further and VLaMax beeing more important for half distance and upward. (Season goal 2019: first 70.3) => low cadence work somewhere in the endurance-range and more volume/endurance stuff in general. Apparently not so keen on sweetspot work in my case.

Got no reason to doubt the results but after a succesful year with TrainerRoad a second opinion can’t hurt, right?

So, in TR metrics: FTP from around 225w (Jan) to 274w (August) followed by some off-season pleasures and currently 267w (Nov), early 30ies, ~170lbs/6.3", no athletic background in Swim/Bike/Run but always did a little sport for fitness purposes before.

Any insights or similar experiences? I’m still somewhat unfamiliar with the non-FTP measurements and love the structure of the TR 70.3 plans with more sweetspot and some intervals to chase. Somewhat dreading to do endurance work and turning the cranks with 60rpm but might be tempted to dabble with it depending on some more feedback.

Have a nice weekend and/or holidays for the oversea TrainerRoadies!


First, cool that you got lab tested. Always nice to understand your engine a bit better. However, know that both those measurements will change through the course of a season. You might want to get tested a few times if you want it to be a useful tool instead of a snapshot.

As for training, I’ve recently been reading about lactate — please correct me if I’m wrong! — but I do believe the lab was correct. The endurance zone training will create the physiological changes regarding your lactate capabilities. SS & threshold zone work is more of a display of those capabilities.

That said, it takes a long time to create those positive changes via Z2 work so if you quit SS cold turkey you might actually see an increase in your lactate numbers instead of the decrease you’re after.

Maybe think about a gradual transition from SS to endurance?

You can also focus on your on-bike breathing and efficiency, two other factors which can effect lactate.

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Thats great input, thanks!

Smooth transition and especially the mentioned breathing/efficiency could be worth a try.

So from my understandig its more about “pushing the effiency in the given power-range”, i.e. make 150mins@85% take the same energy as 150mins@80%, instead of just expanding the power-range to make 80% equal more power.

I’ll recieve example sessions for lowering VLaMax from the lab this week, will post them here. Might be helpful for others trying to solve the same puzzle :slight_smile:

Good start into the week everyone!

Got the trainingplan from the lab, basicly 2 out of 3 rides/week contain some sort of empty stomach stuff in the endurance range with a few tempo/sweet-spot intervals sprinkled in + low-cadence.

for example: 90min@65% with 3x10m@90% and <75rpm

Well, guess I keep it simple and stick with what worked in the past. Low volume TR 70.3 base which pans out beautifully with the targeted races. Usually able to squeeze one extra bike session in on the weekends, gonna use that for one of those proposed workouts and see how it goes.

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Just listened to the Velonews podcast about VLaMax with Sebastian Weber. Probably one of the better/more informative podcast I’ve listened to. Wish I could hire that guy! Nice to validate what we are doing to improve TT or sprinting…

Anyways, @BummTschack, not that it really matters for me just interested, do you need to take blood to determine VLaMax? In the podcast Sebastian talked about figuring this out in the field with world tour teams. In part they plug in some metrics, whether 5 min, 1 minute, 10 minute power etc…I couldn’t determine if they were taking blood. I assume that’s the only way. Again just curious.


This type of workout is exactly what was suggested in the VN podcast to lower vla.

I can say, at least anecdotally, it seems to work. After switching from HV General Build to a second round of base training focused on lots of Z2 and SS, my top end has fallen dramatically but I can ride over 80% of FTP for a very, very long time (multiple hrs) without tiring. This is the opposite of my past fitness which always leaned toward being better in 5min and under punchy efforts but struggling to hold near threshold for longer sustained efforts.


This was a great podcast, I listened to it once on the way to work and on the way back.

Doesn’t look to be available in the UK.

Good article here too:


Great info, straight on the podcast list for the next TR-session. Thanks!

Sebastian is the founder of the lab where I got my tests done so that might explain the similarities, even if he is now in a consoulting-role and no longer directly involved with them.

Yes, some bloodwork is needed: they take your “resting” lactate numbers before doing any exercise (restday before testday advised), than have you doing an all-out sprint for 15s - taking several small samples in a timeframe afterwards to see your lactate decline.

Bit of rest afterwards, ramp-test with breath-measure-mask-thingy to finish things of (and get your VO2max). Then putting both results together, some calculation and you get VLaMax, VO2max and the resulting lactate threshold.

Are there other ways without bloodsamples? I’m afraid I don’t know :confused:

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Thanks BummTschack!

In your example work out what is the percentage of? Is it your TR FTP or did they test for a different wattage target?


percentage of the resulting lactate threshold, which in my case was 3 or 4% lower than my FTP from a TR ramp test 3 weeks before the lab test.

Thanks! I’m super keen on getting this testing done at some point. I’ll be curious to see how it informs your training!

I found this section of the article interesting and likely useful as I was doing a SS Wo today (“Hunter”) which has 15 minute rest intervals between efforts at 40% of ftp. I can’t go that slow on rollers so I kept it at 60% of ftp. Maybe those rest intervals should be at an even higher % of FTP to help promote lactate clearance.

“While familiar with the idea of ‘flushing’ out efforts, I guess I never thought (or have forgotten!) about generating a certain amount of watts to combust or burn through lactate. So, I may pay more attention to pedaling in that 220w range after hard efforts in training.”

FYI, 220 w/328 w FTP = 67%. lactate clearance for the article writer.

looks similar to a pro’s training, Marc Hirschi, U23 road champ. Sessions are a ‘slightly’ longer. Team Sunweb.

sample week, January 2019

Tag 1: 4.5h Grundlagen Training mit 2x10min Tempo-Intervalle
Tag 2: 5h mit Teamzeitfahr-Intervallen (1x 10min Tempo + 2x10min Renntempo)
Tag 3: 6.5 - 7h Grundlagen in den Bergen
Tag 4: lockere Kaffeefahrt
Tag 5: 4.5h mit 2x15-20min Gruppen-Bergintervalle im Schwellenbereich, letzter Kilometer all out
Tag 6: 5h 2x10min Tempo-Intervalle + 1x10min Wechselspiel unter-/überschwellig
Tag 7: 6h Grundlagen in den Bergen

and I would assume, that “base in the mountains” targets this as well. Hence, 4 days of targeting vlamax.

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@Landis in case someone didn’t answer you, on the world tour riders in the field they are taking blood with little sticks to the ear (it was on a marketing video for the software that Sebastian helped develop).

Great podcast. Some things that previously seemed to not reconcile are starting to make sense to me after understanding VLaMax.

So I don’t believe I heard them reveal a field test that the average joe rider could use, right?

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@tshortt thanks. Yeah just interested. Training is sure getting specific!

On one side, it is hard to train specifically in the absence of lab testing. On the other hand, understanding concept of muscular metabolism helps understand benefits and limitations of a standardized training plan.

Here is some additional reading

One take-away for me is how hard it is for sprinters: they need to have both high aerobic and high anaerobic capacity. While TTers need to make sure they don’t train fast twitch muscles too much (reverse periodization?)

Listening to that Fast Talk episode has made things so much clearer to me. I’ve never been able to understand properly this polarisation (excuse the pun) on the different phylosophies of training. This explanation shows how they are all correct and can work. It just depends on the physical make up of the individual and their personal goals.

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I did Hunter yesterday and the recovery time is either way too long or way too low in my opinion, you don’t need 15 minutes to recover from 20 minutes SS. I pedaled a bit harder, if I was to do it again I’d keep it much higher.

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I thought I’d do a shameless plug here - I did an interview with Sebastian a while ago for my podcast (That Triathlon Show) and it was released today. Plenty of things discussed are of course the same that you’ve already heard on the Fast Talk podcast, but I think some of the actual application concepts (by that I mean, how do you actually use the information in training) weren’t discussed in as much in that episode, so I hope this interview provides some added value to the discussion.

FTP, VO2max and VLaMax: what triathletes need to know with Sebastian Weber | EP#169


I love your podcasts Mikael and I am sure you will get different aspects out from Sebastien than the Velonews podcast team did.
It was an interesting podcast and I am sure yours will be a good follow up.