Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Lactate Thresholds & Racing

    Last week I went to Glendale Community College to find out my official Lactate threshold. I had done a field test previously and had a good idea of where the threshold was but I was tired of guessing. With the lab test results I could remove all the guessing and set my zones for training. This would allow me to better train for my races, knowing when and how hard to go and when to chill out and what chilling out actual is.

    So I got to the lab and met with the doc and soon after some initial questions and directions we started. I climbed up on the treadmill, the plan was to run a set of progressive intervals. We were starting with a warm up of a mile followed by .5mph increment speed increases every 2 minutes which at that time blood would be drawn and lactate tested. From there we basically ran me until we found my breaking point. After that we would do a reverse and see how fast I could clear the lactate.

   This was the original results as we were in the testing process. We started at 5mph and moved the pace up every 2 minutes. Initially when they tested my resting lactate it was high, this is normal due to the testing process and the body reacting. As you can see in the next two progressions it actually dropped as my body adjusted. Finally as we continued and my pace increased we began to see the lactate rise. When the test was done I was shocked to see exactly how close my field test was to the lab test.

   If you can understand the graph below you can see exactly where I broke. For those who can't I will give you the answer, it was between 8.5-9.0 mph or between a 7:03-6:40 pace. This is about where I had been running my tempo runs. So I wasn't actually shocked by this revelation, the most important information to me was that my slow run pace of 8:00-8:20 was right. I had previously been running my slow runs too slow which could hamper progression.

   So what did I learn, in the end I basically confirmed what I already knew about myself. Everyone I had talked to about the test had previously warned me this would happen. At this stage of the game I have been running long enough and have an above average idea as to how to train. What it did was instill me a confidence that my goals were obtainable. I have the ability to run a 1:30:00 half and also the ability with proper training qualify for Boston. Now I just have to go out and do the work, next up is to get the V02 max test done.