30 Min test vs New LTHR Testing Protocol | 80/20 Endurance

30 Min test vs New LTHR Testing Protocol

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    Hi David

    I hope it is going well. I have been on the 50 mile program training for my first trail 50 miler (been more concerned about vert than pace), so I only recently read about the new LTHR Testing Protocol as I had to update my stats. My question pertains to the difference in data outcomes between the old and new methods and how it might affect goal setting.

    All of the below info is antidotal and subjective to my experience on the 80/20 Programs.

    To compare the differences, I used my calculations from last year when I ran a PR on the half-marathon (Sep) (ran on 80/20 21.1 KM program Level 3 HR based). For specificity, I train by HR, but will race by Pace and I use the 80/20 Race pacing chart to determine my target pace. This question mainly refers to LT Pace.

    I liked doing the 30 min test a week before my target race as I always felt it gave me accurate stats / zones and confidence. I would usually swop out the Sat and Mon workouts and do the 30 min test on the Sat the weekend before race day.

    As I understood the 30 min test, your avg pace for the 30 mins was your LT pace and the last 20 min AVG HR your LTHR. Last year on the 12th of September (Race day was 19 September) I did the 30 test and I got the following stats:

    30 min, avg pace 3:33, peak 20 min HR was 177. The Race pace chart has veterans racing the 1/2 marathons at low Zone 3. On the above run (old method) my LT pace would have been 3:33 and my Zone 3 window 3:33-3:49 pace. If you remember I spoke to you after this run, my goal was sub 80 min at 3:46 / 47 pace, and you felt it was doable and you suggested I run a negative split. I did run a negative split and averaged 3:45 for a 1:19:10. I was also very conservative the first lap and probably had another 30/40 seconds in the legs.

    If I use that stats from that same run, (1 mile or 5 km), the best alternative LT pace I get is 3:48. That would put my zone 3 window at 3:48-4:05.

    My question is if I can still use the 30 min test or if it is better to use the new method? I ask because if I had to use the new method last year I probably would not have gone for the sub 80. My confidence in the accuracy of the 30 min test and the Race pace chart are two of the biggest reasons I decided to adjust my goal down to a sub 80 race, that and the confidence you gave me after our correspondence.

    The Race Pace chart was also the reason I was able to go down from a 3:09 to 2:56 marathon in June of last year, in both cases my actual HR and Pace fell almost exactly in the the estimated windows. For me confidence definitely helps me to race better and I honestly do not know if I would have had the same confidence on a newer calculation.

    I am sure you have had a lot of questions regarding this and that is also why I decided to add some data to my question even if it is subjective.

    As always thank you for the guidance and I am looking forward to your reply.


    David Warden


    Sorry for the delay in response. Congratulations on your recent event times!

    The 30-minute test remains our “off menu” option for any athlete. For many athletes, it is a more accurate test than the 20-minute test. But, for some athletes, they report the 20-minute to be more accurate. Given that both tests seem work for a large population of athletes, we now recommend the 20-minutes test. But, the 30 can still be used (myself included).

    I feel like my answer should be longer… but that’s all I have to say! Did I address your question thoroughly?



    Hi David

    Thank you for the response and you did. I understand these tests can be subjective and as I have found a lot of success with the previous 30 min test I just wanted to make sure that I was not using an outdated method going forward.

    Like I stated above, it does not affect my daily training (HR seems to also test very similar), the only difference is when I am planning my target pace / time for upcoming races. Happy to be on team 30 min!

    Keep well!
    Regards Lindt

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