Recent Flo podcast with Steve Neal

This is not that the case, for either lower intensity, longer duration exercise or for shorter duration, higher intensity exercise. Measurement of circulating lactate concentrations merely provides a relatively non-invasive indicator of the overall rate of carbohydrate utilization.

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Minor quibble with wording here because someone will likely pipe up… (looks like already happened).

I agree with questions you have RE: LBP, etc. :+1:

Looking at lactate levels in this way is trying see if/when there is an increased metabolic cost (indirectly), not that the lactate CAUSES the cost. Using it as a marker, along with the others. Coaches who approach it this way are trying to get insight into strain.

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Lactate balance point is the result of a test designed to determine maximal lactate steady state with less effort. After first jacking up lactate levels via, e.g., a Wingate test, you do the usual incremental exercise test - lactate concentrations will initially decrease with increasing exercise intensity, then increase again. The nadir is the “balance point”, i.e., the intensity at lactate appearance and disappearance are equal.

Contrary to the initial hypothesis, lactate balance point and maximal lactate steady state testing have been shown to result in slightly different values, but both are clearly higher than so-called “LT1”, no matter how the latter is determined.

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As my students are learning, you still have to get up pretty early in the morning to beat me.

Now off to shock someone with 400 V of electricity! :zap: :zap: :zap:

Not sure if you’re right or wrong, but speaking to the execution of these type of intervals … I would HIGHLY recommend fueling early and often when doing them. They are Kj bombs …. especially when you get into total workout time longer than 90 minutes and you’re past the 3x30 point.

If you went out and tried to burn the most amount of kj’s you actually could burn in a two hour trainer ride, I kinda think you might end up backing into these types of intervals. I’ve never done the math on that, nor tested it … but you get my point :wink:


If you dig in to the ISM Z2 thread (and I’m necessarily recommending you do lol) me and a few others chimed in and said the the “high” z2 model that ISM describes/prescribes sounds an awful lot like the feeling you get riding just below your LBP.


The summary that The_Cog provided sounds like the protocol I used.

LT1 — LBP ----------- LT2
LT1 ----- LBP --------- LT2
LT1 ------- LBP ------- LT2

This is the way we conceptualized it. LBP could approach LT2 with training.

It is common for a rider to NOT be able to move LT1 when training at LT1 unless they did A LOT of hours (>15 hrs). If they managed to move it, it was likely a whole shift in the curve (not just that area) and it was also likely due to the “a lot of hours” part, not training right at LT1 part. It is why on the ISM threads I stopped short of saying “this is what Steve had us do!” It is close in some ways, but critically Steve had us riding (typically) a bit harder than LT1. After all, we don’t have 20+ hrs / week.

LBP moves with training (even when LT1 and LT2 may not). It is protocol-specific so you are establishing that nadir and then with training see it move. Within that protocol, you can often also establish the so-called LT1. You may be waiting a long time for that to move if you’re only training 10hrs a week. Also, it may be a different point than the “LT1” established with a different protocol, which is why knowledgable folks go on and on about LT1 “not being a thing”. Outside of a particular ramp test or some other protocol, it is nothing special (and may not occur at all).

For most riders, LBP corresponded to a tempo level of intensity. Do a lot of riding between LT1 - LBP. That’s the definition within this system of tempo (these are the long tempo intervals we have been discussing). Surround those sessions (or doubled up days) with basic endurance riding. Because low-endurance is duration driven and not intensity driven, ride endurance at lower wattage than you think. So would ride tempo at 250W and endurance at ~185W, for example. Ironically, I actually had a power cap to endurance riding (not HR, etc…“don’t go over this power”).

Many are reading this thinking: “this is an awfully elaborate way of doing tempo” (I know because I used to get DMs frequently to that effect). And maybe it is. :man_shrugging: It was the most effective training on the bike that I have done. And as such, I think much can be learned from it. Back then it certainly went a long way toward me avoiding the fruitless “polarized” discussions.


Here is a link: Lactate Testing | NRGPT

If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, it describes the protocol. I’m thinking about digging my lactate meter out and doing it again … but a word of caution: unless you are pretty experienced at performing the lactate tests on yourself, it is a pain in the ass to execute without an assistant of some sort.

My HRmax is ~185 … trying to sterilize your finger, prick it, apply a test strip, load it into the meter and record a reading when my HR was at 180 BPM was a pretty difficult endeavor :joy:

So you did an approach with easy zone2 rides and some Z3 Hr cap sessions also, for a longer period. Building up TIZ in those tempo sessions. Nice. Great for creating base I guess. You never did higher intensity? Maybe after my events this year I try a month or 2 months of this type of base building rides to improve power at LT1.

IMO, these tempo sessions are for build. I did 8 weeks of these tempo sessions and proceeded to hit my best 3/5 minute power having done zero higher intensity.


Speaking for myself … I did this type of training for 4 months … from November ‘19 through March ‘20 and then switched to a pyramidal strategy (1 vo2 session, 1 SS session, 1 free ride and the rest Z2) and once I started mixing in the intensity my numbers really popped. My base was absolutely rock solid.

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I’m curious if you still do this part of the year? If not, why not?

don’t discount the calorie burn of simply riding endurance 66-79% (kJ is based on 72.5% average power).

Depending on the warmup/cooldown, and using rough/round numbers, 2 hours of endurance is about 1300kJ while 90-minutes tempo is about 1500kJ. For tempo I put a range of 85-95% so kJ burn is based on 90% average power.

Regarding the low cadence discussion, there is NO science to support it. However it appears to deliver some better results for ME. Some conjecture on the topic, that I found interesting:

My personal wild ass guess (WAG) it that in increases muscular endurance and efficiency. But that is a WAG, and all I know is that it appears to produce some ‘better’ results for me (versus doing say 90rpm tempo work). Yes that is hand wavy.

FWIW I don’t feel any increase in core strength from doing low cadence work. Throw kettlebells around? Renegade rows? Palloff press? Other cross body exercises? All of those appear to increase my core strength. But nothing on the bike does.

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I cannot do it all the time because it is tiring work, mentally and physically (kind of the point :slight_smile: ), but short answer: yes.

Long answer:
The last time I applied structure and diligence to the design was first half of 2020. As you remember, the world was coming to an end but we could still ride our bikes. These days I will cycle between a few months of tempo + endurance (as described above) and a few weeks of unstructured outdoor riding + standard Zone 2 on the trainer while watching TV. I have never seen more than 30 seconds of any Zwift world, and I have almost come to the end of the streaming internet. Finding a way through 90-120 min rides on the trainer has been one of the most challenging aspects of this way of riding. There is just a lot of shitty TV out there LOL.

I don’t do base - build - peak/specialty cycles. I’m not training for a specific event on a specific date. Since 2020, I have managed to hang on to about 90% of where I was then (body comp and fitness). I no longer race cyclocross but I still like to hammer with other old dudes on Saturday morning. Four hour hard group rides with numerous 2-6 min climbs, mostly.

If/when I have felt up to it, I have skipped the unstructured intensity of the group rides and blocked off a 4-6 week HIIT cycle. Basically “classic VO2max intervals” and hard-start supra-threshold intervals. The two times I have done those preceded semi-competitive events. One was a gravel century and the other a 130 mile road thing.


Pretty funny to see folks discovering* good ol’ bread-and-butter endurance exercise training…

*Or really, rediscovering, as from a sporting perspective Lydiard got there first.


I think I said this, but if not I’ll say it again: I don’t want to suggest that low cadence pedaling (call it <70 RPM) has some increased cardiovascular benefit, or would spur greater physiological adaptations (I.e. the things they study these papers) beyond what you would get spinning the same power at >85 RPM.

What I was suggesting is that pedaling at at a low cadence engages your core, your glutes and maybe other muscles in a way higher cadences don’t. And the benefit of engaging those muscles allows you, in part, to be a more balanced cyclist on the bike … and thus less prone to injury. And if you don’t get injured, have sore knees, sore back, etc., you’re available to ride more, or you’re motivated to do so because you have less aches and pains. And if you ride more, you get faster. Taking time off the bike to recover from injuries makes you slower. I believe there is a lot of research on detraining.

Furthermore … and people on this board seem to struggle with this to varying degrees, but I would put myself in the top 5% of those who DO struggle with it … low cadence pedaling at tempo takes a lot of pressure off your ass. And if your ass doesn’t hurt, and your undercarriage doesn’t get numb it makes it easier to stay on the bike longer. And staying on the bike longer generally makes you faster.

Again to reiterate: I’m not anti science … but I’m not “anti-evidence” either. I have evidence that my ass doesn’t hurt :joy:, I have evidence that my pedaling platform is stronger and more stable. And I think this is why Seiler, who I believe qualifies as a man of science, once said (paraphrasing) that he believes the best coaches are about 10-15 years ahead of the science, because it takes the researchers about that long to figure out how to study, test, validate, etc., their methods.

I don’t know of any study that shows the benefits of low cadence training on consistency and injury reduction. Probably because a study like that isn’t possible. Maybe I’m wrong. But, also, there is a lot of individuality at play there.

I feel like this is sometimes where we as athletes get wrapped around the axle with science, and this leads to many people actively believing, for instance, that stretching has no benefit to athletic performance (don’t get me started! lol).

Sure, maybe static stretching right before a 100m dash isn’t a great idea, but the ability to be available over the long run to train more, and more effectively and not give back any gains to to injury recovery is going to make you stronger, faster, etc.

Let the arrows fly … I’ll be on my bike🤘


Would you classify the type of training that is being described in this thread as “bread and butter” endurance training?

Speaking on behalf of the non-physiologist, non-coach, non-pro cycling caucus … I feel like “tempo” riding has been either misunderstood, or mis-conveyed as something that should more-or-less be avoided. Not hard enough to be useful, not easy enough to recover, etc., etc.

That is a finger-in-the-wind opinion on things I hear, read, etc. … so don’t hold me to that.

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Maybe you misinterpreted me.

I’m evidence based. Full stop. And I do low cadence work, because it appears to do something that gives me a small performance increase.

If science can explain it, thats great. But not required.

My training is based on what works, for me.

I dunno :man_shrugging: When I focus on my pedal stroke and body, seems pretty much the same at multiple cadences and power outputs. Except when I get lazy and throw my foot over the top, which I started to do on the trainer, and sometimes outside. Sometimes I wonder if low cadence work is more mental, like learning to ride at threshold for more than 40 minutes. I really don’t know what to think, but liked the Evoq article speculating that when we slow things down, its easier to focus on what’s going on. Like breaking down a Turkish Get Up and practicing sub-components of the move. Who knows?!

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Constant intensity (i.e., not intervals), hard enough to induce improvements but not so hard that you can’t (or aren’t willing to) to keep at it, progressively increasing in intensity and duration. That describes the vast majority of scientific exercise training studies ever conducted.

IOW, there is neither anything new or anything magic here. The only reason(s) it might seem so is 1) coaches and athletes like to overcomplicate things, and/or 2) many (but not all) athletes have conflicting goals (e.g., being able to sprint well), which makes writing a training program more difficult.

I blame Seiler and his popularization of what amounts to “training faddism” (akin to food faddism).


Thanks for the answer.

I gotta ask … do you really “blame” Seiler for training faddism? Like, do you think he was irresponsible? Or do you “blame” him in the sense that you give him shit at cocktail parties? :wink:

In my opinion (with all my associated caveats about not being a physiologist, etc.) Seiler just described and espoused the benefits of what he observed in elite athletes with professional training schedules … i.e. 20+ hours

… and people who are mostly like me (amateur athletes with below average ability who engage in idea exchange on message boards like this) tried to apply it to 6-10 hour training weeks, thus imploding the volume/intensity balance of the original idea.

I’m always insecure about how I train specifically because I’m not a professional (physiologist, coach, cyclist, etc.) and I’m always interested in a new modality that might maximize the 10-12 hours (typically) I have for training each week.

This is how people like me over complicate things. We want everything, everywhere, all at once … on 30%-50% of the time and 25% of the ability of elite athletes and 10% of the knowledge.

It sucks to be us :upside_down_face: