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How to run faster for longer by increasing your Lactate Threshold

How to run faster for longer by increasing your Lactate Threshold..

Ever heard of the expression “hitting a wall” that marathon runners use? It’s the point where you can run no more, even if the mind is willing the body has had enough. Your legs feel like lead and they just won’t move. This is when your lactic acid threshold has reached its maximum.

Well the good news is that with proper training, you can increase your lactate threshold – run faster for longer.

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The “threshold” is sometimes referred to as a person’s anaerobic threshold or the point where the lactic acid builds in the muscles due to the body’s inability to process it. Through proper training, we can delay the onset of this lactate build-up.

Under aerobic conditions (walking, light jogging), the muscles can store and burn lactic acid at a faster rate than it is produced. As the intensity level increases, so does the production of lactic acid. And when we reach our lactate threshold, the accumulation of lactic acid increases dramatically and can stop an athlete in their tracks – e.g. hitting a wall during your long distance run.

Lactate Threshold Values:
The average person reaches their LT at 60 percent of their VO2 max
Recreational athletes reach their LT at 65-80 percent their VO2 max
Elite endurance athletes reach their LT at 85-95 percent their VO2 max

Finding our lactate threshold pace is a key component to maximizing the effectiveness of our workouts. If we run too fast, our bodies will take a longer time to recover and we risk the chance of injury. If we run too slowly, we won’t provide the stress needed to improve.

Here are ways to improve your LT:

1. Proper Training
LT training means increasing your exercise intensity so you train at or just above your LT heart rate. This training can be interval training or steady training.

2. Interval LT Training
Sample Plan: Twice a week perform three to five 10 minute high effort intervals at 95-105 percent of your LT heart rate with three minutes of rest between intervals.

3. Continuous LT Training
Sample Plan: Twice a week perform one 20-30 minute high intensity effort at 95-105 percent of your LT heart rate.

4. Proper Nutrition
To boost your LT during training and racing, you need to make sure you can exercise at a high intensity without running our of glycogen stores. This requires careful nutritional meal planning both in the pre-exercise meal and post-exercise meal. For example – carbohydrates are essential before a run, and for fast recovery, Carbohydrate plus Protein really speeds up recovery time. Research also shows that combining protein with carbohydrate within thirty minutes of exercise nearly doubles the insulin response, which results in more stored glycogen.


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