In order to try and improve the efficiency of my training, a few years ago I did a lactate threshold (LT) test at the local university.
This is a test where one gets on a treadmill and the speed is slowly increased. During this process blood samples are taken at regular intervals with the idea being that the speed at which one’s body can no longer clear the lactate produced by the muscles can be found.
This is one’s LT. Below this speed (or corresponding heart rate) an activity can be kept up for a prolonged period. But above it the body simply cannot clear the metabolic waste products and fatigue will invariably set in. Very useful information to know in long distance running.
As well, there are different activity “zones” that one can derive from the LT. Many feel that by using these zones in training one can train more efficiently.
While this was all very cool and fun, it also involved $100 or so, a time slot scheduled well in advance, a lot of finger pricks and expensive lab equipment - all things that would make it a bother to repeat on a regular basis.
Big shot endurance athletes do repeat their LT tests with some regularity as with the correct information as to one’s heart rate zones their training can be more efficient.
In my mind (but only there) I too am a big shot athlete, and so I desired better access to LT testing, but in a way that wouldn’t bother my spouse with how much I was spending on “just running”.
Enter the BSX Insight which showed up in my mailbox yesterday.
This is a gadget that uses the reflected light from various wavelengths to measure lactate levels, instead of the pricks and blood draws.
It fits snugly in a custom made compression sleeve on the calf, and linked to an app on one’s phone can complete an LT test in about 30 minutes. At home or the gym, whenever you want, with no blood draws, fancy lab equipment or distracting but well intentioned grad students.
After lots and lots of volunteers they’ve achieved a 95-97% accuracy in their LT values, and the expectation is that with more data it will only get better in terms of accuracy.
My first test with the BSX showed that I was in fact two years older than my last test, and that I had not been training quite as hard. In other words, it spit out an LT that I didn’t quite want to believe but I’m rather sure was accurate. At any rate - more motivation to get moving.
If you had any interest in such testing, I think this is a worthwhile gadget.
Disclosure: I’ve bought one of these for my personal use and BSX doesn’t know I exist. I’ve received no compensation from anyone for my thoughts. I did, however, get it as an early backer through Kickstarter, and so it will be more expensive now. The photo credit is from the BSX website.