I am continually fascinated at the results of the Heart Rate Training Survey over 600 of you completed.
It's well documented that a 20 minute Threshold Field Test is effective in determining an Athlete's T2 (Anaerobic/Lactate Threshold) or FTP (Functional Threshold Power). In the past I've played the cheerleader for using 20 minute Threshold Field Tests in class...
Except for one problem... I can't offer them to my class where I teach... and based on what I'm seeing in the survey results, neither can (or do) most of you 🙁
Which makes sense. The majority of us teach at a large club and the option to schedule and conduct a special Threshold Field Test class really doesn't exist. I know from experience that trying to do something "special" is very difficult to get approval for, from management. Digging a little deeper into the survey shows me that of the 5.6% who report conducting a regularly scheduled Threshold Field Test, the majority teach at a small independent studios. Instructors at small facilities also report a much higher ability to effect changes in class formats and schedules.
Now contrast that with what looks to me as a very high percentage of us who teach with an emphasis on Heart Rate.
What this shows me is that there is a big discrepancy between our intent to help students train effectively with Heart Rate vs the realities of using a 20 Minute Threshold Field Test to help these students determine some Metabolic Marker they can use to accurately set their HR training zones.
Could you ever hear yourself saying this? Don't worry if you missed the Field Test last week Linda... we'll be having another one in six months 🙂
Some anonymous responses to the HR survey:
I personally hold Threshold test 2X year.
We do a threshold test twice a year. I include the zones when I teach and they follow The other instructors do not use it.
FTHR testing is done every 6-8 weeks and we throw in LT rides to give them a sense of what this feels like. They are told specifically, "if you haven't done the FTHR ride, please go off of the RPE scale of 1-10." I qualify LT as a 5-6.
Wouldn't this be of more value to your students?
Every class I try to establish where LT/AT is, how it feels to be at, below, or above it, and how to move around them. Executed through a combination of speaking, cuing, and guiding them through it as the class goes on.
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As you wrote above, I try to tell my class how I’m feeling at my LT. I have resorted to using the breathing or talk test we learned at the ICI conf. and encourage them that a “hard” effort is similar to saying the alphabet with breaths after “c” for example (e.g. A – B – C, breath, D – E – F, breath, etc.) I think I have about 50% that get this and I can see the hard breathing; I assume the other 50% don’t get it or are choosing not to be at a “hard” effort (which is fine….) I’ve tried RPE but as many have commented over the years, instructors are all over the map with RPE numbers, % of effort, etc. that I’ve found the talk test to be the most understandable. Any feedback would be appreciated!
Sheila you read my mind! I have a new post validating your approach coming this weekend.