When I started running, I checked out a lot of web sites, and was really frustrated about the amount of jargon they used without explaining what it was. Lactate threshold, vO2max, vvO2max and other weird things. It wasn’t until I purchased a book about marathon running that I finally caught on. Lactate threshold is easy: your muscles always create a certain amount of lactate, and it gets removed constantly. As your activity increases, so does the amount of lactate created. At some point you create more lactate than can be removed: this is the lactate threshold. It is one of the most important variables in marathon running, because your optimal marathon speed is just under that threshold. That’s why increasing your lactate threshold is important for a marathon runner who wants to improve his time.
I did my first lactate threshold run today, and it wasn’t as tough as I though it would be. After running 2.5 miles as a warm-up, I increased my tempo until the heart rate was about 165, and kept it between 165 and 175 for 4 more miles. The last 1.5 miles were a cool down. I managed to keep it going quite easily, apart from a big hill at the and of the tempo session, when the heart rate got up to 178. I slowed down, but the heart rate kept rising until it reached 181. That wasn’t planned and I was totally out of breath, but I don’t think it did any harm. I feel really energetic now.