Metabolic training. What is this?

Hi everybody !

I go to you with a question.
I try to know and understand what is “Metabolic training” that the pro cyclist are doing.
In exemple I have the video of tristantakevideo on YTB with pro coach of Bora Hansgrohe John Wakefield (ex UAE) and the monster session of Brandon McNulty that you can see on Strava (3*1h at 355-360 watts).
I bealive that the concept of Metabolic Training by John Wakefield are the same things than the session of McNulty.

Do you have some idea of what is the goal of that type of session ? In what mmol of lactate that correspond ?

Sorry for my mistakes I’m french and not perfect with English :upside_down_face:

Sounds like long tempo sessions. For someone like McNulty, it may not be a “monster” session.


Next year’s zone 2?

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

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Maybe you should have.

Or, even better. Use this as an opportunity to teach someone something. After all, a 360w session from McNulty is likely right around FTP, no?

So what would be the purpose of an FTP session? And wonder if you can get that benefit without knowing “the lactate values”.

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Two reasons I doubt this: 1) he’s 70kg. FTP is probably higher. 2) He’s not doing 3x1hr at FTP. Maybe 90% of FTP.


90% FTP is FTP, or close enough. He was likely doing a threshold session. Or “Zone 4” in ISM parlance. Same thing :man_shrugging:

Also, that’s not really the point.

There’s nothing to teach, or at least not much point in trying. People would rather believe in gurus and miracle training sessions as opposed to established scientific principles like specificity and overload.


My god man…are you saying that pros {gasp} actually deliberately train in “the gray zone”?!? I thought that they were all about polarized training, intensity discipline, walking up hills to keep their heart down, blah, blah, blah.

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That’s exactly what I’m saying. :slightly_smiling_face:


Sorry @Clement32000. Your questions are fine but seems like there is a bit too much ego getting in the way of anyone providing anything helpful. It’s not always like this, but sometimes it’s the way it goes


You don’t get it, do you? There are no secrets, only innate talent and lots of hard training (of the right type relative to one’s goals). The sooner people stop believing in gurus and miracles, the sooner they can get on with the job.

What about if it was around 83%? Doesn’t sound like a threshold session.

Like you, if you are who you are pretending to be :rofl:

Cool. I agree. So say THAT…not whatever it is you and @kurt.braeckel are patting each other on the back over.

Re-read the OP. He doesn’t understand any of that yet. He doesn’t understand the veiled and not so veiled references to other ppl in the industry, training philosophies, any of it. And he’s doing the right thing: asking questions. Your responses (both of you) just come across as bullying and self-aggrandizing. You have a chance to educate, enlighten, help out, entertain…if you were a coach, pick up a client…whatever.

Heck, I ride with ppl who still think lactate causes fatigue. You think they’re ever going to learn? They bemoan “that burning lactate in my legs” as we go up hills…one of those guys is faster than me. Drives me nuts. You know who cares: no one.

They won’t ever learn because they don’t want to. I don’t belittle them. I either ignore them or if/when they get around to asking some very basic questions, I try to steer them in the right direction.

That’s all I’m trying to get at guys. And no, your credentials are not going to lead me to respond any differently.

It’s not that hard to either be helpful or just ignore the newbies.

Still missing the point. Here’s the point (I cannot say it any clearer): We don’t have to be condescending assholes to each other to tease that out.


Make up your mind, will you?

You say, “say that”, when it is precisely what I said in my first reply to you.

You implore me to provide a detailed answer, when you yourself state that you ignore people who express misconceptions (e.g., “lactate causes fatigue”).

You say that I have an opportunity to entertain, which is exactly what my initial comment was meant to do.

I have yet to see you try to answer the OP’s question…why don’t you try that, rather than criticizing my responses and calling ME the “condescending asshole”?


If I’m a guru, it’s only because I actually have spent decades toiling away in the laboratory.

Genuinely lost here. Not following the escalation.

This is where I lost the plot. I don’t know what it’s referring to. Maybe a previous post was edited or I’m just missing it.

I just got it. Maybe Coggan should have resisted the joke.

Damn, I’m slow today. Maybe others are too, so I’ll leave my slow response up for them.

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Now it’s been edited with a quote, I see it straight away, thanks.

Anyway, Metabolic Training, I don’t know. It’s what I’ve been hearing in fitness circles for a long time. For professionals like pro cyclists, I’m not sure why they’d use that term instead of commonly agreed upon terms but it could be an audience thing on a video. It’s a little misleading. Maybe metabolic priority training would be better but this ship has set sail already into a bowl of glossary term soup.

Wow. OK. Point taken. Didn’t think I was being condescending by stating my opinion that this is a fancy name for a 3 hr tempo session. It’s the same criticism I have levied at “polarized training”: most everything that is being touted as new… isn’t.


@IL.Grillo Having now watched the video I see why you’re asking or pointing this now. :+1: They actually provide % FTP. So yeah, tempo. I have no idea what McNulty’s FTP would be but no reason to disagree with kurt.braeckel

Not sure what McNulty did in his session (and now I’m actually confused by the association…did they mention McNulty in the video?). Agree with @AJS914 …what he is describing as a “metabolic training” in the video just seems like tempo.


Sorry @kurt.braeckel It’s not initially the way I read it (meaning the tone, not the content). Your questioning what I posted is fine (all good, and very likely correct). I conflated your response with the one I was actually criticizing. Happy to move on.