The aim of the my first article on Lactate Threshold Training was designed to explain what it actually is. In this second look I am aiming to describe how to determine Lactate Threshold (LT) and in the final piece I will look at how to improve it.
Lactate Threshold obtained by Measurement
The best way to determine your LT is to be tested in an accredited sports science laboratory. There are many commercial organisations that provide this service and your local university that has a sports science programme may have those facilities also – I know mine does.
When you conduct a lactate threshold test you will either cycle an exercise bike or run on a treadmill for several minutes with the speed of the treadmill or the loading on the cycling increasing. A pin prick blood sample will be taken from a finger and the lactate concentration measured.
The diagram shown on the right shows a typical blood lactate concentration versus running speed plot. From these type of graphs the exercise physiologist can ascertain the pace at lactate threshold. A heart rate monitor is typically worn and this gives a further variable for consideration.
Lactate Threshold obtained by Estimation
You can estimate your lactate threshold. In my first article on Lactate Threshold Training I suggested that lactate threshold would determine how quickly you finished a distance race. A good estimation of lactate threshold pace therefore would be the average pace that aligns with your half marathon PB time. research tells us that LT Pace is around 85 – 92% of maximum heart rate therefore from this it is a relatively simple calculation to understand your the heart rate that occurs with that pace if you did not wear a heart rate monitor.
So you now have the tools and understanding to either have your LT estimated or measured and an understanding of the pace and heart rate at which this occurs.
In the third and final article of this series, I consider the basic types of LT running workout, and how runners can improve their lactate threshold and in doing so set new Personal Best times.