Is ventilation a useful marker for use in within-session intensity regulation? Our recent durability study suggests it is

As readers of our blogs will know, I am involved in research with colleagues at AUT in New Zealand on ‘durability’. We defined durability as the time of onset and magnitude of deterioration in physiological profiling characteristics – such as the ventilatory and lactate thresholds that mark the boundaries between intensity domains – over time during prolonged exercise (4). More simply, physiologically and perceptually, a 300 W effort when 20 min into a session is not the same as a 300 W effort when 200 min into a session. An athlete’s durability refers to how big the effect of those 200 min is.

We published a study last year that found an ~10% reduction in power output at the first ventilatory threshold (VT1) following 150 min of moderate-intensity cycling (9). VT1 is used as a marker of the transition between moderate and heavy intensity exercise. I use it as the upper boundary of “Zone 2”, and encourage my athletes to perform the bulk of...

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