Lactate / Lactic Acid

Lactate is a chemical produced in the body that’s involved in energy production at all times.

When lactate levels reach a point when it cannot be re-absorbed and utilised in energy generation, its chemical formula changes and it becomes lactic acid. When this happens under intense exercise conditions it gradually forces the runner to slow down - it is the body's way of telling you that you can’t carry on as you are (or rather your energy systems can’t).

How to train to increase your lactate tolerance

Lactic acid tolerance training will make your body more efficient at reprocessing the waste products of exercise; transporting oxygen to your blood; and allowing you to run nearer to maximal speed for a longer period of time.

Photo Lactic exhaustion

To be honest, as the picture shows, this is a tough sort of training to do, but when you are coming down the home straight, running away from the opposition, you'll thank your coach for the training they set!

Momentum Sports coaches will use these sessions for different athletes at different times of the training year depending upon their conditioning, event and racing needs. We can tailor these and all the rest of your training to your requirements if you'd like us to.

These workouts are tough so it is important to not overload athletes with them and to make sure that their recovery is sufficient from them. Failure to do so could well affect the outcomes of other training sessions.

Practical examples of lactate tolerance training

400m and 800m runners in particular have a specific need to do this type of training. Typical sessions that produce a great deal of lactate/lactic acid include anything from 200m to 600m repetitions, where the speed of the run is no more than about 10-15% slower than race speed.

Recoveries will vary considerably but a good guide is about two minutes per 100m run (so 8min after a 400m rep). After this type of time period the athlete should have recovered sufficiently - for example, breathing will have slowed from the previous effort and pulse rate will have also dropped considerably. However, the athlete will still be fatigued from the previous rep/reps and if blood lactate levels were measured we would find them elevated significantly. It’s the continued but carefully judged regular inclusion of lactate tolerance sessions that will over time lift performance and the ability to run at faster speeds for longer.

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