17 August 2009

Extending your Lactate Threshold

I've said before here that I've been using my spare time recently to learn more about the many various training methods there are out there.

Last month I wrote a piece here about the benefits and reasons for including speed workouts in a runners training programme to improve ones VO2 max. This post is about extending your lactate threshold.

Keep in mind that this is going to be a pretty basic in terms of its detail and if you're looking for a high level analysis on the subject then you're not likely to find that here. If anything I'm just blogging about this as a means on keeping an 'on line diary' if you like to record of what I've learnt. I expect many of you will know this stuff like the back of your hand already.

Firstly I'll mention lactic acid. Lactic acid is a byproduct produced by muscles that builds up in our blood stream during intense exercise. Generally the body is able to remove lactic acid from our systems while we exercise.

The lactate threshold (also known as anaerobic threshold) is the point at which, during intense exercise, lactic acid is being produced at a faster rate than the body can remove it, which in turn quickly leads to muscle fatigue and a drop in performance.

So if your goal is to be able to run faster for longer then you need to work on improving your lactate threshold which can be done by including in your training routine specific workouts where you run at your lactate threshold pace for extended periods.

These are commonly known these days I think as tempo workouts where you might warm up with 15 minutes of jogging before picking up the pace to your LT pace for perhaps 30 minutes before slowing to a jog for the last mile or two of your run. Another approach might be to run several 1 -2 mile repeats at LT pace separated by shorter recovery jogs.

This type of workout is best done at the sharpening stage of a programme after you have built a base. Include a tempo workout once a week in your programme.

A good website for calculating VO2 max and LT threshold paces is runningforfitnes.org. Click the link and you can calculate your VO2 max pace appropriate to your age and 10K time. Then you can go further and find your recommended training paces for LT training, recovery runs, interval training etc.


Ewen August 19, 2009 at 6:55 PM  

Good info Bruce - tempo workouts are a great way of extending the lactate threshold - as are longish intervals with short recoveries.

How about a 6-pack on the game?

Ewen August 22, 2009 at 9:32 PM  

OK... I'll give you half a point - just to take the draw out of the equation ;)

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