In this episode of the Athletes Compass, hosts Paul Warloski and Dr. Paul Laursen, along with guest Marjaana Rakai, discuss the significance of testing for endurance athletes. They cover various tests for cycling, running, and swimming, such as the Functional Threshold Power (FTP) test, critical power test, and MAF (Maximal Aerobic Function) test. The discussion highlights the importance of testing in understanding an athlete’s fitness level, setting training benchmarks, and tracking progress.

Key Takeaways:

  • Testing is essential for calibrating fitness levels and tailoring training programs.
  • It provides a benchmark for performance and helps athletes understand their capabilities.
  • Tests like FTP, critical power, and MAF are valuable tools for cyclists, runners, and triathletes.
  • Proper preparation and mindset are crucial for effective testing.
  • The future of performance testing may include technologies like continuous lactate monitoring.



Paul Warloski (00:36)

Hello and welcome to the Athletes Compass where we navigate training, fitness and health for everyday athletes. And this week we are talking about testing. On the Athletica platform for cycling, for example, we have test week where we do a functional threshold power FTP test and a power profile test. Marianna and I did this online the other day together. She was in Houston, I was in Milwaukee and we did our FTP test together.

Paul Laursen (00:37)

Hello and welcome to the Athletes Compass where we navigate training, fitness, and health for everyday athletes. This week we are talking about testing. On the Athletica platform for cycling, for example, we have test week where we do a functional threshold power FTP test and a power profile test. Marjaana and I did this online the other day together. She was in Houston, I was in Milwaukee, and we did our FTP test.

Paul Warloski (01:05)

But before we get into the details of specific tests for runners and cyclists and triathletes, can I tell you too that I do not like test week? I don't know. I don't know many people who enjoy the testing. Mostly I don't know. For me, it's because we're never happy with the results. So Paul, why is testing important for endurance athletes?

Paul Laursen (01:28)

Yes, testing. I totally hear you, Paul. It's not everyone's, you know, they're not super excited to kind of go and do it, but it is critical in the at least for Athletica. But mostly for coaching as well, like even if even if you're not using Athletica and you're a coach, coaching an athlete, you've got to, you need to figure out who's in front of you and what their capabilities are.

So that's really what it does at the end of the day, is it calibrates who you are and what your capabilities and capacities are from short to long duration exercise. And only when you have that, can you really provide an effective training program to that individual. So that's what it does, whether it's an FTP test, a critical swim speed test, a MAF test,

or a 5K running test. This is all in alignment with determining a benchmark of where that, well, first of all, where the threshold lies, right? And threshold kind of means like, how can you, how good are you at sustaining exercise? You know, at least as a, you know, there's gonna be different aspects of that, but like on a broad, you know, with a broad brush, where are you kind of sitting? And that's the.

purpose of test week, really, Paul.

Marjaana Rakai (02:57)

Can I just add that I love test tweaks? No. Because it pinpoints where I am. And I mean, I've been like with very low fitness level and looking back, it's just so amazing to see the progression. If you don't do any tests, how do you know?

Paul Warloski (02:59)

Yeah. Do you really? Why do you like them? Why do you like what do you like about it?

Paul Laursen (03:22)

Yeah, yeah. So I mean, Marjaana, just, you know, again, so the very first purpose, you're right, you're right, Marjaana I missed that one completely. But the first purpose is the calibration. Here's where I'm at. But how does that, how is where I'm at today related to where I was, you know, yesterday, five years ago, and then going forward, five years from now, one, there were one month from now, whatever, right? Like it's, you're putting, you're putting a mark in the sand of where things are at today.

Marjaana Rakai (03:22)

I'm sorry.



Paul Laursen (03:52)

So that's a really another really important purpose. And then, you know, it's because with all the things we ever speak about on The Athletes Compass podcast, it's like, how is X and Y related to the ability to change that threshold, right? So, and change my performance outcome. And how does that testing also relate likely to

Marjaana Rakai (04:13)

I'm sorry.

Paul Laursen (04:21)

real live performance because real live performance whether it's a cycle race or a triathlon or a you know a duathlon a running race that should relate back to the performance that you can actually execute there should be a one-to-one relationship between those two things so pretty important for that too.

Marjaana Rakai (04:42)

I have to say though that I understand if you don't like test week, I've been there too. Like I used to take like when you have tests at school, oh my gosh. I did not like tests at school because I put too much value in them. Like your test result is not the value of you. So I kind of learned to take it as a...

Paul Warloski (04:56)


Marjaana Rakai (05:10)

growth mindset. And now it's just like a little, little mini race. I get the butterflies in my belly and I enjoy it. But I am a very competitive person. Like I love a little race sometimes. So maybe that's why I like test weeks.

Paul Laursen (05:17)


Yeah, yeah, for sure. That's awesome. Yeah. I mean, you should have that, right? Like, I mean, you've got to get up for these sorts of things, right? Like, it's, yeah, I mean, most of these are kind of sustained efforts, right? For a given period of time. So you really have to read the instructions, recognize what you're going to do. And this kind of comes back to the pacing of these efforts too, right? A lot of people will say, oh, I went out way too hard and as soon as I had,

Marjaana Rakai (05:31)

So it's a...

Yeah, you gotta pump yourself up a little.



Paul Laursen (05:57)

burn that match or whatever, right? Like it was a long, it was a long back half of that test kind of thing, right? Like that's inevitably always happens to me. I'm like, oh, I'm gonna, you know, I'm gonna try and hold X number of Watts or I'm gonna hold X pace kind of thing, right? It's good to have these sorts of things. It doesn't matter too, too much at the end of the day. It's gonna be what it's gonna be. The calculations will be made accordingly. But it's like, it's sometimes that last half is like.

You remember it quite well, you know?

Marjaana Rakai (06:28)


Paul Warloski (06:29)


Marjaana Rakai (06:31)

Now are you taking target numbers from your past performances? And you haven't put the work in?

Paul Laursen (06:35)

Unfortunately, yes, Marjaana. This...

Paul Warloski (06:38)


Paul Laursen (06:42)

This is the problem. This is the problem. I used to be a better version of myself from a performance standpoint. I can't forget those, but that's no longer the case. So this is life. Yeah.

Paul Warloski (06:45)


Marjaana Rakai (06:51)


Paul Warloski (06:56)

So what are some of the, for cycling, you know, to start with cycling, what are the common tests that are used? What do they measure? What are the effect critical power, FTP, ramp tests? Green Biker, one of our listeners asked about the importance of using heart rate during cycling tests. What if you don't have power? Can you use heart rate and speed, for example?

Paul Laursen (07:24)

Yeah, so ideally in the cycling context, Paul, we really want to use, we want to leverage the power meters. So we recognize that those are an investment, but you certainly if you're committed to your endurance training, it's a good thing to put on the Christmas wish list, the birthday wish list or whatever it kind of might be might be if you're a cyclist or a triathlete using cycling, they are pretty darn effective because you're getting a really

you're getting the gold standard version of what we call your external training load, the external training stress. And it couples really nicely with the heart rate too. It's kind of like not one or the other. It's the same sort of thing. A lot of coaches in the cycling world will just say, oh, we don't even need heart rate, right? And it's kind of just as bad. It's like you really ideally want to have one external load marker.

power or pace, like pace in the GPS context, and you wanna have one internal, at least one internal load marker, like a heart rate, which is measuring like, you know, how is your cardiovascular system and nervous system sort of responding to the external load that's being applied. Athletica is gonna work best in that context. So yeah, it certainly can be done, Paul, you know, in terms of just the speed,

with the heart rate, Athletica can function in there. Just if I'm honest, it won't function as effectively.

Oh, sorry, maybe I didn't. Yeah, I didn't answer the question. Sorry, Paul. I didn't answer the question, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah. So the first part you were talking about, well, what are the tests for cycling from Greenbiker, right? Like so, and yeah, it's, you know, typically that FTP test, FTP stands for functional threshold power test, 20 minutes all out. And it's, you know, it's a good indicator of what you can do for an hour, right? And kind of relates back to some of the central.

Paul Warloski (09:02)

and then

There was two parts to it, so...

Paul Laursen (09:31)

training load philosophies and calculations that's really leveraged by Andy Kogan and TrainingPeaks. And that's their sorts of principles. We have kind of taken this to the next level now, and we're currently implementing critical power. So if you go to the Athletica

charts, you'll see your critical power curve. Right? So if you go, if you've been on Athletica for more than, you know, if you've got at least two weeks of data that are on there, you can actually see your critical power curve. And that's using best practices from Peter Leo and colleagues. He's one of the, he's a tour de France training trainer and German, I've interviewed him one of the most popular podcasts in the Training Science Podcast But basically this is like.

gold standard best practice for looking at your power profile, at least we believe it is. You have both your short-term power on that critical power thing. So how effective are you at the punchy stuff, like sprinting, short sprints, to VO2 max type efforts over three to five minutes, to critical power FTP kind of levels in your threshold, to...

very, very long ultra endurance activity in the contexts of the ultra endurance cyclist or triathlete or even runner. So we sort of capture it all in there. This is why we love our power profile and our pace profiles so much because we really capture everyone on there. And those are, yeah, we're pretty proud of that. So we're currently in the process of switching over from

your FTP kind of calculations over to critical power, which are automated from when you just basically, you download, if you join us at Athletica and you've joined us recently, your two years of Garmin data will be uploaded into Athletica and we'll have a general picture of what you have been able to do over the last two years. And we get a pretty good indicator of what that power profile should look like.

And moving forward, it's a more effective means to continually monitor that power profile because you can do it invisibly versus just doing these sort of formal tests. We can do both. Do a formal power profile test where you're doing like, that's on Athletica, we're doing a series of short efforts, medium efforts, long efforts, you know, and it's kind of equivalent. This is what Peter Leo tells us. He's like, at the end of the day, you're getting the same number.

FTP versus critical power. It's not too much different, but one is sort of easier to do. It's easier to monitor critical power. So that's why we're switching to that. So good questions, Greenbike. Hopefully I answered some.

Marjaana Rakai (12:33)

In the Athletica forum, there was a coach who also asked, instead of doing FTP tests, if an athlete who is not used to doing a 20 minutes all out, because it requires a little bit of knowledge how to pace. Is ramp test, can they do ramp test instead of FTP test?

Paul Laursen (12:56)

Yes, yes. And again, with our, this is what we're implementing at this very point in time, we're implementing the critical power, again, philosophy or calculations in there. So that will, if it's a test to exhaustion as it is in a ramp test, just for the listener, make sure they're clear on what a ramp test is. This is when we're sort of, you might be starting at a low exercise level for you, you know, something like.

50 to 100 watts and then you're slowly progressively at a set rate, like three minutes, increasing that by a small amount from one time to the next until you can't go anymore and it's just too hard. So you're gonna get a maximal all out level at that as well. As long as there's that maximal effort at the end, then we should in theory be able to capture your critical power in from that as well. Great question, Marjaana.

Paul Warloski (13:53)

What about running tests? Are MAF tests the way to go?

Paul Laursen (13:58)

Well, first of all, we're doing on the running tests, we're currently following Jack Daniel's methods and Jack Daniel's does five kilometers all out. So that's what we're currently using, your best effort over 5K. And, but you know, honestly, that might be too hard for some, so we can capture it using a critical pace profile as well in a shorter duration too.

We could capture that like for three kilometers, say for example. So the same methods will be applied nicely for runners. Now, when you asked about MAF tests, this stands for maximal aerobic function. And these are more like, you know, we think we've talked to Moen before when we talked about the threshold episode. And we talked about the fact that there's two thresholds. We've been talking about the anchoring of the second threshold.

Maximal lactate steady state or your FTP, that's the best one, the high intensity one. But now when you talk about MAF, you're talking about more of your sustained fat burning intensity. This one is associated with the first ventilatory threshold or the lactate threshold, one millimole increase in lactate over baseline.

and associated with what we also call your fat max or the maximal ability of your body to burn fat and use it as a fuel and which probably relates to a concept I think we've spoken about before too called durability, like your ability to endure for long periods of time. So Ironman athletes, successful grand Fondo cyclists, ultra endurance runners will have very high, successful ones will have very high levels.

of their MAF intensity. So their intensity relative to their MAF heart rate, which is in general, 180 minus age. But again, there's lots of, it's ultimately the top of your L2, is probably more, we're finding more accurate. So this is again pioneered by the legendary Phil Maffetone And yeah, you.

you basically, this is your sub max sustained pace and associated heart rate.

And maybe I should also allude to how we test that. Just for clarity, this is typically when we're either going for three consecutive, sorry, five consecutive kilometers at that set heart rate. So the MAF testing procedures, again, according to Phil Maffetone, we take that 180 minus our age as a marker, or...

if you're on Athletica and you're pretty confident about that your zones are set confident or set well, then check out the top of your L2 level and go at that heart rate for either, you know, you can, you could do it in the cycling context. We have this as well, but also in the running context, just lock in, try to lock into that heart rate as fast as you can and then expect your pace to kind of diminish as it goes, but just hold that heart rate as long as you can.

Now, the better your MAF ability is going to be reflected by the, your ability to hold pace for longer or have less of a fall off in pace. It's going to be what it's going to be, but, you know, just see what that pace sort of sits at. What you find when you are better fat adapted, when your durability increases is that the pace or power relative to that locked heart rate, keep the heart rate always the same, like find out what's, what's right for you.

Just always go at that sort of same heart rate for you. It shouldn't change too much, you know? And then just see what that pace kind of holds at and power holds at for that. For either five kilometers, if you're a beginner, or eight kilometers, five miles, if you are a kind of more, a little bit, you know, if you look at five miles or 8K and it looks manageable to you kind of thing.

And yeah, that's the sub max test that we have.

Marjaana Rakai (18:30)

I've noticed that MAF as a long distance triathlete, that MAF test has been super confidence building because two years ago when I did my first, I don't remember exactly like how many watts I increased. I think I went from like 165 watts to 180 watts.

Paul Laursen (18:59)

That's big.

Marjaana Rakai (18:59)

in two years while I've reduced my body weight. And so to me that's just, it's confidence builder that I can do a long distance bike ride at that fat max and not burning too many matches before my marathon run. So I really liked that test.

Paul Warloski (19:09)

Thank you.

Thank you.

Paul Laursen (19:22)

Yeah. So what's happened to you in two years, do you think, Marjaana? I'm challenging you here. Why are we seeing lower body mass in general and higher power at the same heart rate? What's going on? What have you latched onto?

Marjaana Rakai (19:27)

Better. Alright.


So I came from overtraining and lots of good quality zone two training, good quality sleeps and good quality nutrition. So I've changed my nutrition a lot, going kind of low carb, high fat, which ultimately to me meant...

cutting our processed foods and eating really healthy. That has had a huge impact on my body weight and body composition and therefore I can sustain watts per kg for longer, a higher level. So that's what we want as Ironman athletes, right?

Paul Laursen (20:34)

Yeah, for sure you nailed it. And so ultimately you're able to latch on or you're able to burn the fat that is stored on your body much easier. It's more accessible to you for these longer, for shorter and longer, like exactly. Like you are, you'll leverage that fuel that you're holding on to faster.

Marjaana Rakai (20:46)


Paul Laursen (21:02)

And it'll be easier and your metabolic output at those lower exercise intensities will be much, much greater, your power will be higher, your pace will be higher, you're burning less and you're burning less matches at the higher end as well. So better performance. That's.

Marjaana Rakai (21:21)

Yeah, yeah, I'm talking about running tests. I'm running the 5K faster than I was. So not just everything. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Paul Laursen (21:29)

Everything gets lifted. That's it, right? So back to testing, we have these two key tests. We're testing the lower level, the first threshold with the MAF tests. We're testing the high end, but for both of these, we should be lifting, you know, the goal of Athletica, the goal of any training program, any coach, should be to lift these parameters higher in the training program.

Paul Warloski (21:32)


Marjaana Rakai (21:53)


Paul Laursen (21:56)

through all of these various different means, including training, but also lifestyle factors that you mentioned as well. And again, the purpose is to have a better output at the end of the day. And this is what we measure in the testing.

Marjaana Rakai (22:09)

Yeah, and MAF testing is not done as far as I know anywhere else than in Athletica, so kudos.

Paul Laursen (22:18)


Paul Warloski (22:19)

Mark P. Foster asked about racing and can racing, for instance, Marjaana talks about doing 5Ks, can those be used in place of testing?

Paul Laursen (22:31)

Yes, absolutely. So again, this is a, this can be quite convenient because if you have a race and you measure it on your watch, you're wearable. You know, you're going to have an all out effort. You're likely going to have an all out effort. So it's the opportune time to almost lay down a test invisibly for Athletica. And the cool thing about Athletica is that it watches and it measures that

And you should, if you score a personal best on a race of a similar duration, unless it's a ultra endurance run or bike or whatever, where you might be lower, it's probably not gonna pick up there because you're not at these higher exercise intensities. But if you happen to have a five or a 10K run scheduled, you're probably, if you've trained well and you've seen these, you've seen enhancements in your ability to output power pace.

Marjaana Rakai (23:09)


Paul Laursen (23:29)

then you'll see that you'll be prompted to change your thresholds. And when you change your thresholds, that lifts all of your zones and then your training will follow through accordingly as well.

Paul Warloski (23:47)

being different for individuals with less training. And you kind of answered that, but let's see if we can get some more, are there any special considerations for those using the tests for different types of endurance athletes, beginners versus elites?

Paul Laursen (24:02)

Yeah, so this is to a colleague, David Yuill kind of came up with this. He's a running specialist. He's on our Coach Connect. And Dave really, he modified nicely, I believe, the MAF testing for individual runners that come in without much experience, couch to 5K kind of level, we sort of say. And that's the, you know,

So here you're only gonna be doing, well, the most you'll be doing is five kilometers versus the more experienced runners, we're asking to do five miles or eight kilometers. So in the five kilometer, couch to 5K level, this includes walking, I should really be clear on that. So if you're...

If you are couched to 5K, it might just be a walk level and that's okay, right? So you might be just starting out and if you're asked to go at that heart rate and if right out of the gates, heart rate is high at a walking level, that's okay too, right? Just try to walk the distance and at that heart rate, whatever it may be. But going through the program, it will be...

you'll continue to kind of make gains, especially if you're also leveraging some of the lifestyle factors that Marjaana was talking about as well. So that's, yeah, it's, those are the two levels that we sort of have, Paul. The 5K test and the MAF are on the low volume programs and the higher ones are on the medium to higher volume programs for the 8K or five miles.

Marjaana Rakai (25:56)

How should somebody prepare taking these tests? Any good tips?

Paul Laursen (26:01)

Hmm, what would I do? Well, again, you kind of alluded to it as well, Marjaana. So you get a little excited for these. It's like, it's test day, right? So be excited for them. You wanna kind of get it right as best you can. Keep in mind that you don't have to hit start, or you don't, sorry, you definitely don't have to hit start on your watch, but you don't have to lap it or anything like that. So don't be lapping your watch because it's kind of a distraction.

Athletica is going to take whatever you have captured on that throughout the duration, and it's going to be able to filter and parse out the data of importance. We actually have a technology called a parser. It's an important part of Athletica that actually parses out the data of importance for us before it sends it to the brain of Athletica in the back end.

before the backend sends the information to the front. So just, yeah, just go press start and then press stop at the end of the day. Athletica, let Athletica do the job and Bob's your uncle.

Paul Warloski (27:11)

Thank you.

Marjaana Rakai (27:12)

I would, if I can add, I would also jump on a scale if you're a cyclist, jump on a scale and...

Make sure the Athletica has your weight correct. And then you can look at the watts per kilo and not just looking at absolute values of FTP.

Paul Laursen (27:33)

Yeah, you know, some other, and again, yeah, don't just jump on the scale, but I would also, you know, make sure you're hydrated. Have, you know, start the day with some water and, you know, it is a test. You know, you'd want to use the toilet beforehand. Like these are all kind of standard things that we'd, you know, check if we were going to be testing in a laboratory. So it's the same sort of things, right? So.

prep yourself and remember that this is also something that you're probably gonna want to repeat. So in the context of at least laboratory experiments, we always wanna have the same conditions. So ideally, you wanna do the same thing, even if it's a field test, even at, you know, say you're doing a, say it's an FTP test or a critical power test and you've said, you know what? Not gonna do this on my ergometer. I'm gonna do it outside. Try to have the conditions the same, use the same hill.

all of these sorts of tests. Try to have your temperature the same, the environment the same, ideally if you can. Or if you are in your own pain cave or whatever, again, use the same pain cave, use the same ergometer, all these sorts of things. They all kind of make a small impact on the data that we'd have to kind of consider. So for repeatability, do things the same.

Marjaana Rakai (28:55)

Calibrate your power meter.

Paul Laursen (28:56)

calibrate your power meter. Yep. Yeah, there's all, yeah, find out the instructions on how to calibrate your power meter and keep it the same all the time. So, yeah.

Paul Warloski (28:57)


Marjaana Rakai (28:59)

Thank you.


Paul Warloski (29:10)

common mistakes that people make? Maybe we just answered that question when to avoid when running a bike or a run test for endurance athletes. I mean, obviously we need to prepare and be ready, but what are some mistakes? I can imagine over pacing is one or under pacing.

Paul Laursen (29:25)


Yep, over or under pacing, although over pacing is the more, definitely the more common one, at least for me, too hard from the beginning. You know, your comments, I could have gone harder. You reading the comments, I could have gone harder, but this is what I did, right? Like, that's so common, you know? And then, I mean, equipment malfunction, right? Whether it's a poorly calibrated power meter, the power meter kind of

Paul Warloski (29:35)


That's it.

Paul Laursen (29:59)

failing, often the heart rate monitor, potentially failing as well. Like if it's just, you know, it didn't get a good connection from because the heart rate strap wasn't wet enough or whatever to pick up the heart rate signal or using a wrist-based heart rate monitor that isn't as good relative to a chest strap. Again, if you're doing any of these tests, try to use your chest strap if you have one.

They're far more reliable in general, but not always. So yeah, and again, one of the tests that we haven't really spoken too much about, but we should for the triathletes that are listening, and that's the critical swim speed test, right? And we use a 400 meter all out and a 50 meter all out for the triathletes. And here, we're testing this right now. We are not far from the swim watches.

like the Forerunner series, being good enough to capture and automate a power or a pace profile, but we're not at this time of recording, we're not there yet. So you need to at this point actually record your own time for 400 meters and 50 meters all out. And then we're actually we're putting a little place in where you can enter those times to calibrate that swim critical

But also if you're a triathlete listening, send the data to me via the forum and I'll reply with your pace and I'll even update your zones for you or you can do the same. So it doesn't take too much time. But yeah, at this point in the time, you need to kind of, the swim technology is just starting to get there where we're confident enough that we can actually capture a pace profile. But we're just on the cusp. It's exciting that we're

that were there, because it's been so long where it really hasn't even been close. But now Garmin's really improved, and they're getting close to us being confident in the reliability of that data that's coming in on pace. And heart rate, too. The heart rate is actually getting better and better for swimming. I can't believe it, but it blows me away. But I'm actually using my Forerunner in swimming, and I'm looking at the heart rate of it.

during some of my sessions and I'm like, wow, that's actually not too bad. It hasn't been there for so long, but their algorithms and AI on the heart rate capture is getting better and better as we would expect over time. It's very exciting.

Marjaana Rakai (32:40)

Thanks for watching!

Paul Warloski (32:41)

Do you have a strap for the swimming or just the watch? Okay. So, I'm going to go ahead and go ahead and go ahead and go ahead and go ahead and go ahead

Paul Laursen (32:44)

I just use the watch, no. And again, straps for swimming have a lot of issues associated with them. If you do a decent flip turn and you push off that wall, there's a lot of force and hydrodynamic pressures that are going on. And there's so many times that chest strap just falls straight down. And even if you've got it on really tight, and even if it's really tight, it's kind of

restricting some of the breathing as well. So there's just, you know, that option is often there on many of the Forerunner series or even Polar products and others. But, you know, it will be very good if they if you can just get it solid on the wrist and they're starting to get there because, you know, that practicality kind of wins out.

Marjaana Rakai (33:34)

Interesting. So how many times a year should we be doing these tests?

Paul Laursen (33:41)

Well, context, Marjaana, context over content always. And they, to me, it comes down to practicality at the end of the day. So have, if you're starting out on a journey to do your event, then that's a great time to lay down a starting test, right? And that's why at the beginning of all the Athletica programs, we start with a test week.

Marjaana Rakai (33:44)

Hmm? Hahahaha

Paul Laursen (34:09)

And you'll see that on your settings, your training settings, you'll have the ability to include or exclude a test week. And we often, there's just like a little tab at the end, right, so if you're resetting your program, you'll always have the option to, you know, click the box to exclude the test week. But if, and if you don't exclude that, or if you don't hit that box, then we include a test week, because we assume that you're starting something brand new.

So I think at the beginning of any program is a great time to do that. And yeah, and that's, and then the race, like Paul was saying too, like the race is the ultimate test too, right? Like that's the key thing. Like how much did we increase our fitness to enhance our performance? And we can measure that in the race. So yeah, that's what I like personally. I like at the start of a journey towards an A race is my...

personal preference, it makes the most practical kind of sense. And then if you are doing key sets in there, like consistent threshold sessions that are around your second threshold, if your fitness is all of a sudden really enhanced, you'll get a notification that you might want to raise your thresholds. So listen to that. Consider it.

that I would accept that recommendation. And then if it wasn't, and it was just, it's a potentially an equipment error, then dismiss it and don't accept it. So again, you appreciate your context as a coach and athlete and make the change according to that.

Paul Warloski (35:55)

What do you see as the future of performance testing and endurance sports? I mean, are there emerging trends or technologies that we should be aware of? Like what about continuous lactate monitoring or other devices that may come out that you know of, both of you?

Paul Laursen (36:13)

Oh, yeah. Well, your timing is perfect on that question, Paul. I actually have a meeting tomorrow with one of a number of continuous lactate companies that are emerging into the market. So, yeah, so that's this one. This one leverages the lactate that's in your sweat.

Marjaana Rakai (36:31)

That's cool.

Paul Laursen (36:39)

And then there's, of course, others, So there's a lot happening, and I do believe that will be a fascinating innovation that emerges in the next five years. And yeah, no question. And how will we use that? Well, again,

how does it correspond to some of these field tests that we're using like we've just been through, right? How does it compare to the critical power test? How does it compare to the FTP test? How does it compare to the MAF test? And yeah, and then how is it, how does that look in a short interval session or a long interval session? How is this corresponding to some of the aerobic, anaerobic and neuromuscular variables that we sometimes talk about?

I'm starting to talk a little bit fast. I get so excited about these sorts of things, Paul. Yeah.

Marjaana Rakai (37:27)

I'm sorry.

What about?

Paul Laursen (37:33)

Yeah, running power is high on the list as well. Nice call, Marjaana. And for sure, it's, you know, we have downplayed this one for a long time because of the black box kind of, you know, concepts and whatnot, but the market tends to lead. Like there's clearly, they're clearly getting some value out of this one. I think they're getting better and better with their AI on the various power monitoring devices.

So we are working towards adding that into the suite of variables that we accept in Athletica. It's easier said than done, though. So at the moment, we are still using Pace. And there's a lot of small things around, well, what do you do if they have both? What variable trumps the other one? And all these kinds of different insights. And what variable are we using to establish load?

So, yeah, it's on the consideration list and we're in the logic pipeline. But, yeah, a lot of internal debates about this one right now that are fun. So hang tight and it's definitely coming.

Paul Warloski (38:51)

Number one, testing is a mark in the sand. In the words of, of Paul, it's a calibration of your fitness. Number two, testing is important to monitor your progress and know if your training is working. You can identify your training thresholds and see how they are changing. And number three, testing is not the value of you. And that is what Marjaana has, has reminded me of.

It's a like a little mini race and that's it. And there's nothing more to be, it's now instead of hating testing, at least I'm more open to it. So that is all for this week. Thanks for listening and join us next week for the Athletes Compass. You can help us by asking your training questions in the comments, liking and sharing the podcast, giving us five star reviews and engaging with us on the social media.

Paul Laursen (39:26)


Thanks for listening and join us next week for the Athletes Compass. You can help us by asking your training questions in the comments, liking and sharing the podcast, giving us five star reviews and engaging with us on social media. From Ariana Rapai and Dr. Paul Larson, I'm Paul Worlowski and this has been...

Paul Warloski (39:42)

From Ariana Rekai and Dr. Paul Larson, I'm Paul Wurlowski, and this has been the Athletes Compass Podcast. Thanks for listening.

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