Running Threshold Field Test Protocol
20 Minute Protocol
This is a twenty minute field test protocol used to determine your “threshold heartrate” and pace. Knowing your threshold heartrate will help you both plan workouts as well as measure progress in your training.
Field Test Warmup
(Why you should warmup before testing, training and racing, Sample warmups depending on your fitness level)
5-10 minutes brisk walking with muscle activation drills. 5-10 minutes easy jogging, with 2 20 second strides thrown in, 2-3 minute recovery between strides. Minimum 3 minute recovery before beginning test.
- Begin 20 minute effort at maximum sustainable effort.
- If needed start slightly below what you think you can sustain, but continue increasing effort without going harder than you can sustain for the duration of the test. You should finish knowing you gave it everything you had.
- Your estimated Lactate Threshold Heart Rate (LTHR) is 95% of your 20 minute average heart rate for the test.
- 15 minutes easy cool down with stretching
Now you can do some simple math to determine HR training zones, either relative to your LTHR, or as a percentage. These zones are starting points. Each test will have some variation as heart rates can vary from day to day depending on several factors. Taking 95% of your 20 minute average HR is just an estimate for your “true” threshold heart rate which could be determined with a 60 minute time trail.
As long as you maintain the same conditions from test to test, the 20 minute test is excellent for maintaining your current heart rate zones and measuring progress from test to test througout the season. Record in your trianing log your 20 minute heart rate average, the total distance covered for the test and the average speed of the test.
The heart rate is used to determine training zones, and the average speed and distance are used to measure progress from test to test.
|Zone||% LTHR||Easy Math|
|Level 1 (Recovery Zone)||0-68%||< LTHR – 35 beats|
|Level 2 (Endurance)||69-83%||25 – 35 beats below LTHR|
|Level 3 (Tempo)||84-94%||15 beats below LTHR up to LTHR|
|Level 4 (Threshold)||95-105%||Tested LTHR from time trial|
|Level 5 (VO2)||>106%||5-10 beats above LTHR|
Other Running Tests that Your Coach May Prescribe
5K Running Field Test
Please send comments/corrections to coach AT steelcityendurance DOT com
References: Training and Racing with a Power Meter, Hunter Allen & Andy Coggen; Dr. Phil Skiba, personal communication