Accidental Threshold Test | 80/20 Endurance

Accidental Threshold Test

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    I went out and blasted my long run at the weekend (not exactly 80/20, but sometimes it feels good to go for it), and afterwards Training Peaks notified me of a new 60 minute threshold. According to though, it’s best to ignore these things and do the proper 80/20 test. I was curious however, because surely the 80/20 test is more of an estimate than an actual full 60 minutes at pace? Additionally, TP’s estimate is higher and my Garmin is forever moaning at me for being above my zone when my pace says the zone is fine.

    So I guess I was wondering what to do with my new threshold? Ignore it, use it, or maybe it’s a sign that I should do the official test again? Thanks

    David Warden

    I loved this post title. It reminded me of someone saying “I accidently robbed a bank.”

    And, like robbing a bank, if you get away with it, you keep the money. So, we keep your new threshold “fortune” for sure.

    Always use the highest recent (<6 weeks) threshold discovered: a race, on purpose, or by accident. TrainingPeaks estimate is not the same as our field tests, but they are close enough.

    The thing about a new threshold is that if you get it wrong, you'll know it pretty soon. If you just can't maintain the low end of the zones being prescribed, it's probably too high. Zone 3 intervals are particularly revealing. If you can't maintain at least 75% penetration for all intervals, your threshold is probably too high. If you are constantly above 100% Zone 3 penetration, your threshold is too low.



    LOL @ David. Great information.


    Thanks David, I’ve taken the fortune (an extra 7 bpm, I’m rich!).


    so, then on the days we are feeling exceptionally “Bonnie and Clyde” can we pound it and really go for it… or is that a slippery slope of easing the discipline from staying in zones 1 and 2, 80 % of the time?

    Since I’ll do everything to avoid taking threshold tests (augh, have one tomorrow), can I use the above information as a marker?! : ) IE – If I am finding that I am exceeding Zone 3 on a consistent basis – I just give myself some free Watts??

    David Warden

    I hesitate to give a free pass and say “test whenever you want!” As you’ve pointed out, 20 minute sof high intensity can add up and wreck the ratios for a week. It’s OK if you do it now and then, but too often and you’re right back into the main problem that most athletes face: too much high intensity.

    Tat being said, there will just be some weeks where you actually feel strong on a regular week and not a rest week, so go for it.

    And, absolutely, if you are constantly smashing your Zone 3 intervals, it’s a sign you’re too low on your threshold. Add a few more and wait until another test to verify.


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