Lactate threshold - you’ve maybe felt it before. It’s a pace that gets you in the zone, the transition from an easy jog to something that requires thought, focus, and intention. It’s a pace you can push at consistently, but the energy and effort required to sustain it is much more significant than a casual social run - think 5k or 10k race pace. It’s a tricky feeling to figure out, but it is oh-so-important to understand because it is what makes you faster and stronger.
What is it really? Here is my way of explaining it:
At Fly Feet we live in the high intensity realm. I am [pretty] positive that everyone reading this has felt that burning sensation in their legs/chest while in the midst of a tread interval. If you haven’t, then come see me ;) This feeling is our body’s accumulation of lactate in our blood.
The fast and aggressive training that we do demands a lot of oxygen, often times faster than we can produce it! This is when the glycolytic system (think unsustainable, 2’ or less intervals) kicks in, but it is far less efficient than our oxidative system (longer, sustained efforts). Oxygen buffers the accumulation of lactate so lactate threshold is the point when your body produces lactate faster than it can clear it. When we start to accumulate blood lactate we start to feel dead-legged and heavy - like you’re running through a sandpit.
Now we need to talk about why we want to improve threshold and how we can build it into our training...
There are amazing performance benefits that come from threshold training, such as being able to sustain a lighter pace for longer. Lactate threshold is what defines the upper limits of what we consider sustainable effort. Looking to outlast someone in a race or increase the amount of time you can stave of the burning feeling in an interval? Develop your threshold pace!
All month long we’ve been tackling the threshold zone in Stride and finding different ways to increase what kind of pace we can sustain and the amount of time we can sustain it. Every month our Stride programming is developed to target specific parameters around running to increase our abilities to run faster for longer. Come check it out before January ends and before the February theme gets here!
All Hail the TreadMighty,