What exactly is lactate threshold?
LT has been identified as one of the most reliable predicators of performance in endurance sports. It determines the fastest that an athlete can perform exercise in a steady state without fatiguing. By knowing your threshold you can carry out higher quality workouts at specific intensities which is the best way to improve upon your performance. Performing exercise above LT can only be maintained for a few minutes at a time. In most instances you train below LT while working to increase your LT pace through your training cycle. By increasing your LT pace you should see your training and race times getting faster over time.
To complete the test Matt had me do a short warm up and then in 3 minute increments he increased the speed on the TM. After the end of each 3 minute session I would hop off of the TM so that Matt could take a small blood sample from my finger (like a diabetes test). This was repeated until my threshold pace was determined. Unfortunately it didn't take very long to determine.
My last threshold test was done in February (read about it HERE) and was the foundation for my Eugene Marathon training cycle. All of my workout paces were based around my threshold pace at the time which was 8.7-9.0 on the TM which equates to a 6:55-6:40 pace. Weekly workouts looked something like this:
Tuesday: 5 miles E (E pace was 8:00-8:30 pace)
Wednesday: Threshold workout
Thursday: 5 miles E
Friday: Speed workout above threshold pace (R pace was 5:20 pace). These intervals were typically 200- 800 meters in length
Saturday: Optional workout of spinning or jogging for 60 minutes
Sunday: Long run (varying paces)
The long runs leading up to Eugene looked something like this before my taper started:
19 miles (9 miles E pace, 10 miles M pace)
22 miles at E pace
22 miles (2 miles E, 3 miles T, 12 miles E, 3 miles T , 2 miles E)
22 miles (11 miles E pace, 11 miles M pace)
24 miles E pace
24 miles (12 miles E pace, 12 miles M pace)
My test on Monday was good, but not perfect. I think that both Matt and I thought that my threshold would be a bit higher than it actually was. However, he still thinks that I am at a good starting point for finishing up some base training for Windermere in May. There is a lot of work to be done and I will need to be very patient with myself in the coming months. My current threshold is only an 8:00 min pace, but hopefully that will improve in the next couple of weeks. In the coming weeks the main focus will be on the aerobic component to establish a better base before the real interval work begins.
Matt did ask me what my goals for Windermere were. I was afraid to answer, but I was honest. Obviously I want a PR, but my main goal is to break 3:15 in May which would ideally set me up for a good fall marathon. In return, Matt was very honest and straightforward with me in what he thinks I would be capable of at Windermere. Based on my current fitness level he thinks running a 3:20 or faster is doable. However, he doesn’t think a sub 3:15 will be in the cards. Windermere would lay a great foundation to run a sub 3:15 at a fall marathon.
Now the million dollar question is: what fall marathon do I register for???!!!!
Questions for you:
Ever had an LT test done?
Do you break up your long runs into different paces?
What has been your longest training run leading up to a marathon?