The aim of my first first article in this series on Lactate Threshold Training was to define this commonly used term and explain what it actually means. The second article aimed to describe the various ways in which Lactate Threshold (LT) can be determined. In this third and final piece, I wanted to look at LT workouts, their objective, and examples of how to conduct each of them. At least one of them will surprise you!
Having read the first two articles we have a better understanding of Lactate Threshold and for distance runners the training associated with it can be the most important type of training they do. All LT workouts aim to achieve the same thing they look to having you train at, or above your lactate threshold.
By training at your LT you actually increase the threshold and in doing so you can increase the pace that can be held for a given effort level. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is easy as this training can be demanding and therefore in your weekly schedule you need to factor it in with recovery time. An athlete would typically start with one session a week and perhaps progress to two or three. You can revisit your method of determining LT after you have trained this way and determine whether or not you have been successful. I’d certainly think you will have improved your endurance by training just below this threshold.
The 3 main way to move your threshold point to the right:
- Increasing Volume
- Tempo Runs
- Lactate Threshold Intervals
This one might surprise you but simply by increasing run volume you make changes in the mitochondria (the powerhouse within the cell) but it is changes made here that ultimately make changes in lactate threshold. In many cases runners are simply not running to develop their aerobic engine so even thought this is a post on lactate threshold I wanted to make the point that merely by conducting aerobic work you will affect LT.
These are the staple workouts that are prescribed to improve lactate threshold and are a continuous run of typically around 30 minutes at your LT Pace. An example of this that I give some of my athletes is a warm up, then 4 miles at half marathon race pace and a cooldown.
Lactate Threshold Intervals
You can get a similar benefit that you get from the tempo run by splitting it into reps. These workouts are classic Professor Jack Daniels type workouts and he calls these cruise intervals. An example that he cites could be 3 repetitions of 8 minutes each at LT pace. If you don’t ‘enjoy’ tempo runs then LT intervals can be an alternative However remember most athletes do what they like to do not what they should do.
Lactate threshold (LT) is an important factor in determining running performance in longer races so try including one of these sessions to start with in your weekly mix.