There are three variations of this workout; all three are performed at the athlete’s lactate threshold pace.
• VERSION 1: Warm up for 2-3 miles; run 6-10 miles at LT pace.
• VERSION 2: Warm up for 2-3 miles; run 4-6 x 1 mile at LT pace with a one-minute recovery jog in between; jog for 2-3 miles to cool down.
• VERSION 3: Warm up for 2-3 miles; run longer intervals based on time—for example, 2×15:00 with a three-minute recovery jog in between, or 3×10:00 with a three-minute recovery jog in between.
What is lactate threshold?
Lactate is a by-product of anaerobic metabolism produced during exercise performed at all intensities; achieving a balance between the rate of lactate production and absorption is key. During light to moderate efforts, lactate levels in the blood remain low. Conversely, as intensity increases, there comes a point where the body is unable to remove lactate faster than it’s generated, leading to improper muscle contraction and, ultimately, slowing down. Lactate threshold is the highest steady-state intensity that an exercising person can maintain for a specific period of time—increasing the threshold in training will allow runners to run faster, longer.
This piece first appeared in the November issue of Competitor magazine.