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Optimizing Endurance Training: Lactate Threshold

As it turns out, according to Dr. Len Kravitz of the University of New Mexico, the key to optimizing your endurance levels is to improve your lactate threshold.  What is your lactate threshold?

Lactate threshold encompases the point at which intense exercise increases blood lactate levels to the point of accumulation.  This “lactate threshold” can be described in layman’s terms as the point where your breathing becomes labored, and your muscles start to burn.  When you exceed your lactate threshold for a period, your body will slow or force you to stop.

The idea is to increase the lactate threshold so that your body can last longer when in an endurance event.  What is the best kind of training to increase your lactate threshold?  Apparently, it’s the combination of high volume, interval training, and steady-state workouts.

No matter what endurance event your training for, in regards to training volume, you’ll want to increase your output by 10-20% every week.  This slower progression will ensure that you do not overtrain your body.  Steady-state workouts depend upon your current endurance level, so whatever you can do consistently for as long as you can do it will work in your program.  However, make sure that the your effort is equal to your lactate threshold.

As for interval training, this once again depends on your current status as an athlete, but is absolutely critical to increasing the lactate threshold.  While you train, during the high intensity periods of your interval training, make sure that you are exceeding your own lactate threshold.  Good luck with your training program!