Yesterday I got my hands on the new BSXInsight XR2 bloodless lactic threshold measurment device. I took it out for a test run (pun intended) and here is what I found.

What is the BSXInsight?
It is basically a small device that goes into a sleeve you wear on our calf. The device emits light into the skin, which allows it to read the oxygen content of your muscles without having to take blood samples. It’s basically the same technology they use to get your pulse02 when you go to the doctor’s office. Once you pair it up with your smart phone, in my case my iPhone and your ANT-based heart rate monitor and/or footpod, you can see real-time metrics including muscle oxygenation, heart rate and pace using the free phone app.

The app will run you through either a cycling or running threshold test. After you answer a couple of questions about your ability, you are presented with a test that goes through 12 stages of 3 minutes each. At the end of the test the raw data is uploaded to the BSX website. After their algorithm goes through the data, it presents you with your results. Those results include your threshold pace, pace zones and threshold heart rate with training hr zones.

My Testing Experience
I run my first test the other day.

The test starts at a walk (20:00 min/mile). It then ramps up the pace every 3 minutes by about .3 miles per hour for the first 7 stages. The remaining 5 stages ramp up at a quicker pace of between .4 and .5 miles per hour. My final ‘stage’ was at a 5:21 minute/mile pace and I lasted for only the first of the three minutes. Once you are done running you stop the test and allow it up upload. About 10 seconds later you get your results.

My Results
I have not done a full blown lab threshold test in about 5 years. At $150-300 they are too expensive to do on a regular enough basis that you would get usable numbers for training.

Over the course of the last few years I have obtained by training heart rate and pacing zones by competing in several ‘test’ 10K’s throughout the triathlon season. My last test race was in March. The numbers I derived from it were as follows:

Threshold Pace: 6:08 minute/mile
Threshold HR: 164 bpm

I then use the Joel Friel’s method to obtain my zones. Using those last numbers I found that while my pacing zones seemed to be right on, my 164 heart rate zone seemed too high in that I was unable to reach and maintain that threshold during training.

The BSXInsight best produced the following numbers:

Threshold Pace: 6:07 minute/mile
Threshold HR: 159

The results seemed to be exactly what I thought they should be. The zones it produced seemed much more in line with what I have been able to do in training. When I want back and reset my zones and recalculated my training numbers, it produced training numbers that were much more in line with what I was feeling and benefits I obtained.

I’ll have to use it several more times and get some additional testing done with it before I can say for sure how well it works. But my initial thought is that it’s a great training tool to have.

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