MLSS Test: Result #1 of a planned series


Most of you know what MLSS testing is so won’t clutter with details here. For those not familiar, FasCat Training has a nice post on the topic and web search will turn up numerous articles on the topic.

Background: Myself and several buddies are gearing up for “serious” runs at 40km TT PRs and/or USA Masters National and/or the New Jersey Time Trial Series in 2019. All master’s age athletes age 50 to 75, well trained over several seasons. We are all avid time trialists trying to eek out every fractional gain possible from training and gear.

Because I’m a data dork, decided to invest in a hand held lactate meter to really track my training and offered to do the buddies too. A bunch of us (4-5 total) are going to do MLSS testing at regular intervals this season to see how we do and if having these data helps in a meaningful manner. A side benefit is if you know you are going to test a lot with a peer group you want to do well. A bit of social accountability works wonders.

Today’s Post: I’ve had MLSS and LT tests run before but always as the testee not the tester. To get a feel for running the tests and using the meter prior to conducting runs on my pals, decided to run an MLSS protocol on myself. Not perfect as one needs to pause to take the sample, but might as well make data. Plus, wife wasn’t available.

Method: Created a four step protocol in Trainer Road (search MLSS in the workouts if you want to use it). Ramp warm-up then four ten minute bouts increasing 10w each step. I estimated 230w MLSS for myself and set the interval percentages for 210-220-230 watt steps. A fourth interval of 240w is added just in case I was too pessimistic (answer = nope). At five min spacing I would pause the workout, hop off trainer and do a lactate test. Each test takes about 90s seconds. Went well except for that spot in the middle where TR un-paused which I didn’t notice and also had to repeat the lactate test due to a poor reading.

Conclusion: 230w was a good guess for MLSS. Can see the 7.7 to 8.1 to 9.3 mMol increases. I stretched the 230w level to 15 min to get three time points.

Note: I’ve always been a very high lactate producer so not at all surprised to see 3.5 - 4.0 mMol at baseline. Typically at steady state I get measures around 8 mMol.

Next Steps: Performing MLSS tests on the buddies during the holidays. We are all in BASE mode right now with several guys starting BUILD in January. Of the gang, myself and two others are avid TR users. Another is self coached and another has a TrainingPeaks coach. We’ll repeat the MLSS testing after our respective builds probably toward mid-March and then again in June/July depending on A-Race goals and desire for data.

Season Goals: I’ll be following an 80/20 type plan as discussed in the 80/20 thread. Am looking to perform well in a series of four, perhaps five, 40-50 km individual TTs which will run from late-May to late-July. As I come out of build and get close to first event am planning to do an extended test of 30-40 min at goal race pace to see how the lactate measure work out.

Hoping the image appears and this post is for entertainment purposes only!



Thanks, Mark!

Hey, if any of your buds wants to share their data it would sure be cool to see how their results compare to the pic you posted of your test.

Very cool!


Awesome! Big thanks to TR users like you and @mcneese.chad who conduct these types of experiments & publish your experience for the rest of us. :+1:


I’ll report data for the other guys as they’ll allow. Can always blind it.

Am looking forward to comparing my 80/20 (modified) compared to very similar rider who is doing TR SST Base then Sustained Build. We both incorporate strength work for overall health. This will be his second season using TR program as Chad plans it.

Baseline MLSS testing for the other guys will be last two weeks of December. Look for a post right around New Year’s



Any info on the make, model, cost, etc?


Doughnut asked: Make, model, cost?

Lactate Plus meter. The other easy to find unit was the Lactate Scout. Have coaching friends with both so it was a coin toss.

Total expense for the test unit, 100 test strips, high and low control solutions, single use lancets in 28 and 26 guage, gloves, alcohol wipes total was just over $500.

The test strips are in the range of $2 each. The rest of the stuff is not expensive so total per measurement excluding the device is about $2.25. Figure 6-10 test strips per person per test depending on how many sticks and which type of test you are running and the disposables cost about $20 per test session.

Cost for a lactate threshold test or MLSS seems to run between $75 and $150. Told the guys to cover the disposables cost for each session and I’ll take tips in beer and pizza :-]

This is obviously total geekery but we’ll have some fun with it.