Lactate threshold in running refers to the intensity of exercise at which the body's production of lactate exceeds its clearance, leading to a rapid increase in blood lactate levels. This point is often associated with the onset of fatigue during prolonged exercise. Lactate threshold is an important physiological measure for runners, as it is linked to running performance and the ability to sustain higher intensities for longer durations.
By training at or near the lactate threshold, runners can improve their ability to clear lactate and sustain higher speeds before fatigue sets in. Lactate threshold can be estimated through field tests, such as determining running speed at lactate threshold (RSLT), or through more precise laboratory measurements involving blood lactate readings at various exercise intensities. Improving lactate threshold through targeted training can lead to enhanced running performance, as it allows runners to sustain higher speeds with less fatigue.
A SIMPLE BREAKDOWN OF LACTATE THRESHOLD TRAINING
- Energy Production: Your body creates energy using various methods. As exercise gets more intense, it relies more on anaerobic metabolism (energy production without oxygen), leading to lactate accumulation.
- Threshold Point: The lactate threshold is where lactate production exceeds your body's clearing capacity. It's the maximum intensity you can sustain before performance significantly drops.
- Importance for Runners: This threshold is a key performance indicator. Improving it means you can maintain higher intensity for longer, boosting your performance.
- How to Measure: It can be measured directly through a blood test during treadmill or cycling tests. Alternatively, you can estimate it using perceived exertion ratings on a 1 to 10 scale.
- Training to Improve: To raise your lactate threshold, train at or just below this point. Interval training, alternating between high and lower intensity, can help. Gradually increase the duration and intensity of these intervals. More overall training volume and intensity also contribute to improvements.
In essence, the lactate threshold is a critical marker in exercise, indicating the point where lactate build-up starts impacting performance. For runners, training to improve this threshold means they can run harder and longer.
LACTATE THRESHOLD FAQs
Improving lactate threshold in runners can be achieved through various training methods. Some effective strategies to increase lactate threshold include:
- Lactate Threshold (LT) Training: Incorporating LT training sessions, which involve running at intensities near the lactate threshold, can help improve the body's ability to clear lactate and sustain higher speeds before fatigue sets in. These sessions are typically higher intensity, so they should be added 1-2 times a week into the training schedule and kept fairly short, around 20-30 minutes long.
- Increase Weekly Running Mileage: Gradually increasing weekly running mileage can help improve the body's efficiency at using oxygen, which in turn can push the lactate threshold up. By running further and longer, the body becomes more efficient at using oxygen, leading to an increase in lactate threshold.
- Add Weekly Tempo Runs: Tempo runs, also known as threshold runs, are a type of workout that can help improve the lactate threshold. These runs are typically done at a pace that is just below the lactate threshold and can be added into the training schedule to help improve running economy and increase the pace at which the body begins to produce too much lactic acid for it to clear.
- Perform Regular Lactate Threshold Intervals: Lactate threshold intervals involve running at intensities near the lactate threshold, with periods of rest or lower intensity in between. These intervals can help improve the body's ability to clear lactate and sustain higher speeds before fatigue sets in.
By incorporating these training methods into a runner's training program, it is possible to improve lactate threshold, which can lead to enhanced running performance and the ability to sustain higher speeds with less fatigue.