In the previous chapter, we explored the use of physiological testing in tailoring training zones to an individual's current physiology. But that's not all, this testing can also be utilized to determine an athlete's strengths and weaknesses in relation to their target event.
To better understand this, we will first review what physiological testing can reveal about an athlete's condition. By analyzing changes in heart rate, lactate curve, and fat oxidation, we can gain insights into the athlete's cardiovascular and muscular systems. For example, a change in the grade of the heart rate vs power line can indicate the point at which the heart achieves maximum stroke volume, which is crucial for endurance athletes. Similarly, changes in the lactate curve can give us an idea of fiber type shifts and guide us in directing the training towards the desired fiber type. The fat oxidation profile, on the other hand, can inform us of the glycogen "cost" of different intensities and help us adjust training zones accordingly.
With all these data, we now have a comprehensive understanding of what's happening in the athlete's body and can measure the physiological effects of each training stimulus. This leads us to the next question: what do we want to see? How do we want the heart rate vs power profile to change over time? What does an "ideal" lactate curve look like for different events and stages of development? And, what are the key energy systems for different events and how do we hope to see them progress?
Finally, beyond just setting training zones, are there any additional tests that can provide us with valuable information about the athlete's strengths and weaknesses? Let's dive into this question and work our way back to what we hope to see in each test.
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