Understanding Threshold Runs and Lactic Acid...

Why Lactic Acid isnt the problem....

The pace of a Threshold run should feel 'comfortably hard' which you should be able to maintain for a relatively long time.

The purpose of the Threshold Run is to improve your body's ability to clear blood lactate, i.e. teaching your body to deal with a slightly demanding pace for a prolonged period of time.

In essence, what we are trying to do is move on the point at which production levels of lactate starts to exceed clearance.

As long as the clearance of lactate is matched by its production, lactic acid is actually an an important source of fuel.

The purpose of this session is to try and acclimatise your body's response to an increase in lactate and therefore, your ability to work at higher intensities for longer periods of time.

There is a common misconception that is it is Lactic Acid that is to blame for post-race soreness and that Lactic Acid is bad.

The soreness is not Lactic Acid it is usually as a result of the micro trauma to the muscles in the session, hence why I don't like stretching as a cool down after sessions, why would you stretch a muscle which you have caused a micro-trauma too?

A lot of people say that they 'feel' Lactic Acid in their legs. This is also a myth.

Lactic acid is the byproduct that's created where we burn glycogen without oxygen when we run.

The faster/longer/more intense we go the more lactic acid is created in the blood, it breaks down into lactate and hydrogen ions. The lactate is processed and converted into fuel.

The problem is actually created by the excess hydrogen ions not an increase in lactate..

When hydrogen ions accumulate, it becomes more difficult for the muscles to contract, and it makes running feel harder.

So actually the problem is not the build-up of lactic it is the build-up of hydrogen ions.

Enjoy your Tempo/Threshold Run!

Arete Coaching Run Session Tuesday 29th
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