Time Trial Field Tests
Winter is the best time to start planning your training for race season. Many things go into an effective training plan, such as time available, where you are located(cold, warm, rural, urban environments), and what you are training for. In any plan, it’s important to keep testing yourself in order to determine whether what you’re doing is helping your body adapt and improve, or falling short. In order to get maximum benefit from your training plan, it’s important to know where you are now so you, or your Coach, can plan a progressive strategy to help you achieve your goals.
There are a number of different types of testing you can do. Some are more involved than others, but their main goal is to figure out certain base metrics such as pace, heart rate, and power thresholds. When I talk of thresholds, I am referring to your lactate, or anaerobic threshold. For more info on that, please check out my post regarding Vo2 Max and Lactate Threshold specifically.
For now, I’m just going to share with you 3 simple time trial field tests you can do on your own with minimal equipment, and no blood testing. For all of these you will need some type of stopwatch, and a heart rate monitor is also recommended. For Power, you will need a Power meter.
WU: 500yd easy (focus on head down streamlined position – smooth stroke w/relaxed recovery arm)
Main Set: 3 x 300yd 1:00RI(recovery interval)
CD: 200yd easy
Goal: Swim at max sustainable pace for each 300yd. Record each time(try to stay within 15 seconds of each other)
Calculate Average 300yd Pace then divide by 3 to get your 100yd T-Pace. This pace will be used as part of your training to help set interval paces and recovery times.
Bike: (Indoors or Outdoors)
WU: 10 min easy, 5 min hard effort, 5 min moderate/easy
Main Set: 20 min max sustainable effort(work hard!)
CD: 10 min easy
Goal: Ride a max sustainable effort for 20 min TT. Record Average Heart Rate & Average Power (if you work with Power). *AVG HR will be used as your FTHR (Functional Threshold Heart Rate). AVG Power – 5% will be used as your FTP (Functional Threshold Power).
Run: (Road/Trail, Track, or Treadmill)
WU: 800m easy, Leg Swings, high knee drill, quick skip drill, carioca drill, 4-6 striders
Main Set: Option 1 – 5k (3.1miles) at max sustainable effort
Option 2 – 3 x 1600m 1:00RI (ea. 1600 must be within 15 seconds of each other)
CD: 1600 easy
Goal: Run at max sustainable effort for the entire 5k or each 1600. Record Total Time and AVG HR for the 5k or each 1600. Your time will be used to calculate your training paces for all track intervals, tempo and long distance runs. Your *AVG HR will be used as your FTHR (Functional Threshold Heart Rate).
As you can see, these are not incredibly sophisticated. They will not give you the super accurate data you’d receive from lab testing, but they will be accurate enough. The only important part of these is that they are consistent(location, environment, etc.) each time you perform them.
Always consult a doctor before performing maximal or submaximal testing, and it’s always a good idea to have a friend or coach assist you.