endurance sport

Perceived exertion and lactate threshold

Picture this, you’ve been riding for three hours and you’re tired, you can feel the burn creeping into your legs, a sure sign that your body is producing more lactate than it can metabolise. You know that if you carry on at this pace you’re not going to make it. And you begin to wonder, how on earth to the professionals do it? Is their perception of fatigue the same as yours or are they immune to feeling the burn.

Real or perceived fatigue during the Cape Argus Cycle Tour

source: www.sportsillustrated.co.za

I have talked about the perception of fatigue. In my previous post I mentioned that Professor Tim Noakes states that the brain, when it senses that the athlete is overstretching him- or herself, sets off a series of sensations that the body translates as symptoms of fatigue. The brain does so to protect itself, the heart and the rest of the body. “Its main function is to make sure you don’t get into trouble in whatever exercise you’re doing”.

I just completed my very first Cape Argus Cycle Tour, with a wind resisted time of 5 hours and 17 minutes. For the most part I felt stronger than I had expected, but there were times when all I could think of was “when will this end”. I have to wonder at what point my brain was correct when it told my legs, “hey slow down”. It is incredibly difficult to know how far to push yourself. Athletes who have down years of endurance training seem to develop an accurate sense of how far they can go. For those unschooled in endurance sports it is a process of trial and error.Read More »Real or perceived fatigue during the Cape Argus Cycle Tour