Endurance diagnostics, endurance analysis, analysis of endurance abilities, endurance examinationMore and more people are getting enthusiastic about endurance sports. Starting with sporadic forest running to improve general fitness, targeted endurance training to burn fat and preparation for various endurance competitions. However, many recreational athletes quickly reach their limits when it comes to training planning, execution and evaluation.
Although the terms lactate, maximum oxygen intake and heart rate are not foreign to most athletes, most hobby runners, swimmers and cyclists do not know much about them. Decisive for the use of various performance diagnostic procedures is the hoped-for goal. Health sportsmen whose intention is the sole improvement of the general fitness, will certainly not use sport scientific procedures to determine the lactate values when they approach the morning forest run.
For performance-oriented track and field athletes and marathon runners, on the other hand, it is impossible to imagine training practice without such investigations. More and more recreational athletes are also integrating special measuring methods to examine their own performance more closely in order to prepare for a competition in the best possible way. Interested in performance diagnostics?
Test method for determining aerobic endurance performance
Aerobic endurance means a gain of energy under consumption of oxygen. This is referred to as performance in the range of 2 mmol lactate/l/kg, which is discussed in more detail in the lower chapter. In training science, a distinction is made between sport-specific and non-sport-specific test procedures.
With non-specific endurance tests, endurance is tested independently of the actual discipline. For example, runners can perform a performance diagnosis on a bicycle ergometer. Sport-specific endurance tests are always carried out in the discipline in which the athlete competes.
Furthermore, a distinction is made between laboratory tests and field tests. In a field test, the stresses and strains are tested directly during running, swimming, cycling, figure skating, etc., whereas in a laboratory test, the bicycle ergometer, rowing ergometer, treadmill ergometer, etc. are used.
Both test methods have both advantages and disadvantages. While a field test is rather closely linked to the discipline and competition conditions, the analysis proves to be difficult. The reverse is true for laboratory tests. In training practice, step tests are usually used. See below
Heart rate limits
The heart rate is the easiest and most uncomplicated way to control the training from outside. Every athlete knows various heart rate tables in which the optimal heart rate for specific training goals can easily be read. Nevertheless, this method is very imprecise.
Such tables are based on the assumption of a universal athlete. The basis of all values is the maximum heart rate, which is completely different for all athletes. Thus it can happen that some athletes can easily cover longer distances at a heart rate of 190 bpm, whereas others reach their maximum heart rate at 178 bpm.
It is obvious that both athletes have different demands on the muscles at a frequency of 150 beats per minute. Therefore, sports scientists claim that only a test of lactate and respiratory values can give an exclusion about the true load/strain. However, these lactate tests are complex and expensive and are therefore only used regularly in high-performance sports.
Those who want to measure and control their performance and performance increases in the leisure sector should use other methods. In addition to heart rate, it is also possible to control running speed, driving or swimming speed in conjunction with heart rate. Another decisive factor, which is also becoming more and more important in the new training science, is the subjective sensation during training.
The human organism is so complex and variable that even daily fluctuations show immense differences in performance. Therefore, training should not only be linked to quantitative measurements, but rather to personal perception. The question of the sense of endurance performance diagnostics lies in the different energy production possibilities of the human organism.
If you run slowly, the required energy (ATP) is synthesized from free fatty acids and carbohydrates with consumption of oxygen. If the running speed or training intensity is increased, the organism gains ATP from carbohydrates, but no longer under the consumption of oxygen, but without (anaerobically). In the process, the body produces so-called lactate.
In laboratory tests or field tests, a lactate curve can now be determined in connection with running speed and heart rate, in order to be able to draw conclusions about performance or correct trainability. Through the regular lactate test, the athlete knows how and with which intensities he has to train in the future in order to achieve certain goals. Essentially, it is a matter of determining the aerobic and anaerobic threshold or the aerobic- anaerobic transition.
This transition marks the point in time of the intensity of the load, at which the organism changes the energy supply. The training of the aerobic capacity can then be improved (the muscles should perform better at lower lactate levels, lower heart rate and lower respiratory rate). On the other hand the anaerobic capacity should be improved. (The organism should be more tolerant of increased loads in the anaerobic range and maintain performance even at higher lactate levels). How you can improve your endurance performance is explained in our article: Endurance performance – How it is improved