Threshold training involves running at a pace just below your lactate threshold, which is the point at which your body begins to produce more lactic acid than it can remove. This type of training has a number of benefits for runners, including:
- Improved endurance: By training at your lactate threshold, you can increase your body’s ability to clear lactic acid more efficiently, allowing you to maintain a higher pace for longer.
- Increased speed: Threshold training can also help improve your running speed by increasing your body’s ability to use oxygen and produce energy more efficiently.
- Better race performance: As a result of the improved endurance and speed, runners who incorporate threshold training into their routines may see better race performances, especially in longer races.
- Mental toughness: Threshold training can also help build mental toughness and teach runners to push through discomfort and fatigue.
- Time efficiency: Because threshold training is a high-intensity workout, it can be a time-efficient way to get a quality workout in a shorter amount of time.
- Injury prevention: Threshold training can also help prevent injury by improving overall running form, increasing strength, and reducing the risk of overuse injuries.
Threshold training Vs VO2 max training
Threshold training is designed to improve the body’s ability to sustain a high-intensity effort over a prolonged period of time. This type of training is done at or just below the lactate threshold, which is the point at which lactic acid builds up in the muscles faster than it can be cleared. By training at this intensity, the body becomes more efficient at clearing lactic acid, which helps delay the onset of fatigue and allows the runner to sustain a higher pace for longer periods of time. Threshold training is typically done at a pace that is faster than a runner’s typical race pace, but not so fast that they can’t sustain it for an extended period of time.
On the other hand, VO2 max training is designed to improve the body’s ability to take in and use oxygen. This type of training involves running at a pace that is close to the maximum pace that a runner can sustain for a short period of time, typically 3-5 minutes. By training at this intensity, the body becomes better at using oxygen to produce energy, which can lead to faster race times and improved endurance.
While threshold training and VO2 max training are different, they can complement each other in a well-rounded training program. Threshold training can help improve the body’s ability to sustain a faster pace over a prolonged period of time, while VO2 max training can help improve the body’s ability to run at a faster pace for shorter periods of time. It’s important to note that both types of training are high-intensity workouts and should be incorporated into a training plan under the guidance of a qualified coach or trainer.
How to find your lactate threshold
Lactic threshold is the point during exercise at which lactic acid starts to accumulate in the muscles, causing fatigue and discomfort. Measuring your lactic threshold can be helpful for athletes who want to optimize their training and performance.
There are several methods to measure lactic threshold, including:
- Blood lactate testing: This involves taking a small blood sample during exercise and measuring the concentration of lactate in the blood. The point at which lactate starts to accumulate rapidly is your lactic threshold. This method provides the most accurate results, but it can be expensive and requires specialized equipment and expertise. Blood lactate testing is the gold standard for testing.
- Heart rate monitoring: This method involves monitoring your heart rate during exercise and identifying the point at which your heart rate starts to increase rapidly. This point is typically close to your lactic threshold. You can use a heart rate monitor to track your heart rate during a standardized test or during a training session.
- Rating of perceived exertion: This method involves rating your perceived level of exertion during exercise on a scale of 1-10. Your lactic threshold is typically around a 7 on this scale, where you feel like you are working hard but can still maintain the pace for an extended period.
Keep in mind that lactic threshold can vary based on factors such as fitness level, age, and training history, so it’s important to regularly re-assess your lactic threshold to ensure you are training at the appropriate intensity. Consulting with a qualified sports medicine professional or coach can also help you interpret your results and develop a training plan to improve your performance.
Why training above the lactate threshold is bad for endurance athletes
Training above the lactate threshold can be beneficial for certain types of athletic training, but it can also be counterproductive if done excessively or inappropriately. The lactate threshold is the point at which the body’s production of lactic acid exceeds its ability to clear it, resulting in a buildup of lactate in the bloodstream. This can lead to fatigue, muscle soreness, and decreased performance.
Training above the lactate threshold, also known as anaerobic training, can be beneficial for improving anaerobic endurance, power, and speed. However, it can also lead to a higher risk of injury, as the body is pushed to its limits and may not be able to handle the stress placed on it. Additionally, overreliance on anaerobic training can lead to a decrease in aerobic capacity, which is important for endurance sports.
It’s important to note that training above the lactate threshold is not necessarily “bad” in all circumstances, and it can be beneficial when done appropriately as part of a well-rounded training program. However, it’s important to consult with a coach or trainer to ensure that you are training at the appropriate level and not overdoing it, which can lead to negative consequences for your health and performance.
How to program lactate threshold training in your running program
You can program lactate threshold training into your interval workouts, tempo runs, and shorter intervals. With your tempo run, you will run at a pace that keeps you right under your lactate threshold. With your interval training, you will do intervals at a pace that will get you at or slightly above your lactate threshold. It’s important to program in short rest for your interval workouts to allow lactate to build up. Keep in mind that most of your runs should be easy and your hard runs should make up about 20% of your volume.