Having been an ‘INSCYD-Coach’ for more or less 5 months now, INSCYD PPD testing has become a more and more integrated part of training planning and workout prescription. It is without doubt a valuable tool that can be used to……..
Optimize overall training planning and specify important details in workouts.
Address athlete strengths and weaknesses in relation to sport specific demands.
Understand how to target different energy systems precisely.
Educate athletes on how different workouts affects the body in different ways.
Here are a few of the most important take aways so far!
It is ‘easy’ to use as a coach and athlete. If you as a coach know the theoretical and practical background stuff about PPD-testing, it is quite easy to inform athletes about testing protocols, how to carry out the test, and what insights test results will bring. For athletes it seems fairly simple ‘just’ to go all-out in 4 intervals (20 sec, 3 min, 6 min and 12 min), to get an comprehensive test report with valuable data.
It provides valuable data and insights. The data you get from an INSCYD PPD Test Report is powerful knowledge. In a long-term perspective, you get to know what energy systems (VO2max, VLamax, Anaerobic Threshold and FatMax) to work on in order to reach your goals in training and competition. You will know if the anaerobic threshold (AT) needs to come up, if you should focus on improving the anaerobic system (VLamax), or if you need to build the engine (VO2max). Simply making your overall training planning and day-to-day planning more focused on preparing for competition!
On the graph below, you can see an outline of the metabolic capacities from a PPD test.
In a short-term perspective, you will know where to set training intensities. Both in relation to ‘interval-intensity’ and ‘recovery-intensity’. This is where ‘The Lactate: Recovery & accumulation’ curve comes in handy, as you will know exactly how much lactate you accumulate during hard efforts, and how long time you need to recover to clear the lactate before next hard effort. Thus, really optimizing the quality of a single workout and making interval training hard in the right way, which is, making sure you recover sufficiently in between intervals so you can hit the rights numbers to improve.
If you do not have this knowledge, you will most likely make recovery periods to short resulting in 1) less quality (harder to reach the desired power-targets) in the single efforts and 2) greater accumulation of lactate (fatigue) throughout an interval-session, which most likely will be unproductive if this continues from one session to another over a longer period.
So in other words knowing your numbers from a PPD-test, makes you get the most out of your hard efforts.
On the graph below, you can not only see the lactate accumulation during hard efforts and lactate clearance during low intensities, but you can also see at what intensity you have the most effective lactate clearance i.e. at which intensity you most effectively clear lactate during the recovery phase.
It tells you if you are moving in the right direction. Testing on a regular basis will let you know as a coach and athlete if the training works as intended. In this relation the biggest difference from INSCYD testing compared to FTP-testing (or even lab testing), is that you will get to know exactly which energy systems has improved. With an FTP-test you will just get an overall number, but not know specifications on which energy systems contributes to this number, and if there was improvements from a past test, what was the direct cause of this improvement (have you raised your anaerobic threshold or does your higher 20 min power come from improvements in VO2max or VLamax). That you will know with an INSCYD test, as you can see how the different energy systems, has been effected by your training from one test to another.
On the graph below, you can see how performance and energy systems developed over er period of approimately 3½ months.
It helps you to understand what's is going on behind the scenes. Using the INSCYD Training Zone Builder to make sport/discipline specific training zones (e.g for mountainbike cross-country) or personalized training zones targeting individuel needs, is at great tool to make the training even more specific. Not only to set the right intensity, but also to get valuable information on how much you stimulate the different energy systems at different intensities, what percentage of energy comes from aerobic and anaerobic pathways, how much carbohydrate or fat you burn in different training zones, etc.....! This information is also very educative and usefull for the athletes.
Below is an example of a 12 zone model targeting moutainbike cross-country specific training, with emphasize on the higher intensity zones as cross-country is higly demanding on the anaerobic energy system. So basically zone 1 to 3 is quite normal, but then you have 9 zones covering the anaerobic threshold, VO2max and VLamax.
To sum up........so far INSCYD Testing has been quite an eye opener into performance testing. It is a lot more applicable to the real world of training, than just an FTP-test or a lab test for that sake, as it gives you a much deeper insight into the individuals metabolic capacities, and what to work on in order to improve through training. As a coach it is easy to use the knowledge gained from testing, by using the INSCYD Athlete Performance Center to plan workouts, estimating 'interval-intensities' and 'recovery-intensities' and in general make sure you target the right metabolic systems required for a certain event or type of racing. Further, athletes like it as they get interesting data and valuable knowledge to optimize their efforts in training.