The Workout: Capacity LT

Jim and I always have fun arguments about the use of LT work in training prescription (by the way, Nate writing here). I laugh about it, because at the end of the day we both have a good handle on when, how, why, and how much LT work to implement into an athlete’s training. However, everyone always has their own philosophies within certain principles. I always think of Jim as a big LT guy, and Jim always thinks of me as a light LT guy. Truthfully I think a lot of this is molded more by what worked for us personally as athletes, in our banter with each other, rather than how we prescribe LT work to athletes we coach now. When it comes to training prescriptions we’re pretty much on the same wavelength!

Before I get too far down a rabbit hole of coaching philosophy I want to get into today’s featured workout. The workout is a bread and butter LT workout. By LT workout, I’m talking about lactate threshold - but realistically the way most of our athletes determine the power they’re doing LT efforts at we are not really talking about lactate threshold. I say that because most of the athletes we’re working with, we’re not working off of lab derived power zones that have been derived off of related blood lactate values. Really when we’re saying “LT” we are more talking about FTP - or around the power, HR, or effort that an athlete could sustain at maximum effort for around 60 minutes. Realistically that’s probably pretty close to that athletes LT, but there are also a ton of ways to define that and depending on the protocol it could definitely vary. FTP may be quite close to an athlete’s MLSS, or maybe absolute 4mMol lactate power, but maybe quite a bit higher to other definitions of LT. Shoot, this paragraph ended up being a training philosophy talk more than about the workout. I think the next paragraph is going to be better.

OK! The workout today is a twist on a bread and butter LT workout. If you’ve been around a power meter for a hot minute someone has talked to you about 2x20’s @ LT. I really like this workout as a variety on that workout, that is great to implement once you’ve done some tempo and LT work, have a pretty good base of strength in those workouts and now we’re taking those workouts and adding some sharpening to them for some race specificity. I call the workout “Capacity LT”. The workout is deadly simple, and deadly effective. Here it is:

  • Warm up with Z1/Z2 riding - this is a good time to work in some technique work like focusing on 100+ rpm

  • 10-20 min low zone 3 / tempo effort - just an effort to warm up a bit and add some aerobic economy work. If doing this workout in a time crunch you can shorten the tempo or cut it altogether

  • 2 x 20-25 min efforts - first 2 min ride @ 5 min maximum pace, then ride 3 min @ high zone 3 / tempo, then the rest of the way ride steady in LT. Make sure to keep ample recovery between the reps and have a goal of doing the most power you can do without dropping on the 2nd rep. So the first should feel hard but in control.

What’s it look like?

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That’s a picture perfect “Capacity LT”! Try the workout and let us know what you think. This is a hard workout, so you want to set it up well in your training week and month. There’s not that much point in doing it, if you’re not in a good place to do it well. I like to give it to athletes as the second training day after a recovery day, so that they’ve done a bit of work to get the legs going but haven’t really knackered themselves. For example I might have someone do a moderate workout like some tempo or sprints the day before. Then hit this one at quality!

Thanks for reading!