Threshold Training

Threshold training is very important in any regimen of running or endurance training. Two key features of threshold training are VO2max and anaerobic threshold. VO2max is nothing but the maximum oxygen volume that is utilized per every pound of our body weight. If you were able to use more oxygen volume, your pace of running would be faster. VO2max is normally determined by our genetic inheritance. Still, it could be increased by about 15% to 20% by proper training.


Training Above Lactate Threshold

On the other hand, anaerobic threshold is a more complicated subject. Also known as lactate threshold or LT, it measures the amount of lactic acid produced in our body when we run fast. We use the carbohydrates, fats, and glucose as fuels when we are running. The lactate that is produced combines with oxygen to give us the energy. The resulting carbon dioxide is breathed out by us. If we were unable to use the lactate that had been produced, it would get built up in our body muscles and in our blood stream. It becomes difficult for the muscles to operate smoothly and pain would be felt. If we could improve our ability in using the lactate produced in our body completely, we would be able to run faster and avoid the burnout sensation.

You should remember one important point about this lactate build up in our body. It does not gradually increase as we run faster. It would build up slowly up to a certain point. After that, it would increase dramatically. This point is known as anaerobic threshold or lactate threshold. Training properly is very important to improve your LT. Normal persons would have about 50% to 55% LT of their VO2max. On the other hand, in trained persons, the LT could be higher than 90% of their VO2max. This high level of LT is necessary particularly for persons running long distances of 3,000 meters and more. Marathon runners should have very high lactate threshold to succeed.

Lactate threshold could be determined by a lactate analyzer and your blood samples. Blood samples should be taken at various running speeds and the lactate level should be measured. The speed of running in which your lactate level suddenly increases is your lactate threshold.

Another method of testing LT is known as the Conconi Test. In this test, the pulse rate is measured for various speeds of running. Like the lactate level in blood, the pulse would dramatically jump upwards. By plotting the pulse rate, you would be able to see when it shoots up from the gradual inclination. This would be your LT.

The pace of running could also be used as measure to find out the lactate threshold. For a normal person, the pace of running in a 15,000-meter effort would be lesser by about 12 seconds per km, when compared to the speed of running a 10,000-meter race. The average speed and pulse during the 15,000-meter running could be taken as your LT speed and pulse.

The lactate threshold could be significantly improved by training above lactate threshold or running at your LT speed. At speeds lower than your LT, you would not accumulate enough lactate and your body would not be able to use it fully or remove it. At very high paces of running, only your VO2max will improve but not your LT. Hence, you should run at the right speed to benefit from your lactate threshold.