What is my threshold and why is it important
In its simplest sense, your threshold is the level of effort you can steadily hold for one hour, as measured by heart rate, power or pace. This is true for running, cycling, swimming or any endurance exercise
Knowing your threshold value is important for two key reasons. First, performing work at this level, monitored by heart rate, pace or power, is a key aspect to any training plan. Working at your threshold will help you build many aerobic systems at the same time, meaning you get a lot of bang for your buck. Second, your threshold value determines your other training zones, such as recovery or endurance. Training in the proper zone, again through heart rate, pace or power, is crucial to ensure you are working at the appropriate level in order to get desired results. All zones are calculated using your threshold value, so having it set right is critical to getting all of your training zones correct.
It is important to note that when you start training, you will need to do a threshold test to determine your threshold for the first time. These are included as standard in all of my plans.
What if I need to change my threshold as I progress through the plan?
For the majority of my plans I tend to schedule swim/bike and run tests at the start of base and build periods.
These are essential to complete and update your zones. All the details about how to complete the test and how to update your zones are in the session details.
However, there is the possibility that Training peaks identifies changes in your threshold values as part of a hard session or race, for example.
Personally, I prefer to only update threshold and zones based on the exact same tests – so you are really only comparing apples with apples.
However, for training peaks premium members, you can change your settings to either a) notify you of potential threshold changes and then you can decide to update or b) set the system to auto update the zones.
The benefit of the auto update is that Training peaks will always have your most up to date zone info BUT in some instances – it may have down to erroneous data e.g. a bike session recorded as a run.