3 Essential Tests for Endurance Athletes

LEG LUBE: Endurance athletes, whether beginners or seasoned competitors, can all learn something from even the most basic tests and consultations offered. Here are the three most important tests that Kim Gandler, the sport biomechanist at The Memorial Hermann’s IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute, recommends for new and aspiring IRONMAN athletes:

1. Lactate testing: This basic test determines the exercise intensity at which lactic acid starts to accumulate in the blood stream. Basically, it tells you when you stop burning fat as your main energy source and start using glycogen (aerobic versus anaerobic training). This is critical data for anyone who uses a heart rate monitor for training.

2. Nutrition and fueling: Gandler recommends learning more about individual needs for nutrition and fueling in three areas: training, daily nutrition and racing. One available test is the k-cal per hour determination. Used primarily in bike training, this data tells athletes how many calories they’re burning at each wattage and corresponding heart rate.

3. Gait analysis: Every new triathlete’s arsenal should also contain a gait analysis, Gandler says. The institute conducts video analysis of the full body that goes beyond what’s typically available in a running store. Videos are then broken down into mechanics and experts can determine whether the athlete is wearing the right shoes, for example.

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