Anaerobic Threshold more commonly referred to as Lactate Threshold is an often misunderstood term. A greater understanding of Lactate Threshold will offer great benefits to endurance athletes. In the following article I will explain in simple terminology Lactate Threshold. How a runner can determine Lactate Threshold pace. And ways to better optimize your Lactate Threshold training.

The term Lactate Threshold or LT for short is the exercise intensity at which lactate starts to accumulate in the blood stream. This happens when it is produced faster than it can be removed. When exercising below the AT intensity any lactate produced by the muscles is removed by the body without it building up Lactate Threshold can be increased greatly with training.

A commonly held belief is that Lactate Threshold is exactly 85% of an endurance athlete s maximum heart rate. Lactate Threshold is actually a moving range. Depending on the fitness of an athlete this range will move up and down from 80-95% of maximum heart rate.

Determining your Lactate Threshold pace is crucial to gain its benefits. After a period of endurance running, referred to as base building. Begin to add runs that last approximately 20 minutes in length. LT pace will be at just below the pace when your leg muscles start to feel heavy. Another way to determine LT pace is by perceived effort. The perceived effort is just below the onset of a burning sensation in the leg muscles or lungs.
Runners can use heart rate monitors to determine their LT pace. Running a 5k race and taking the average heart rate minus 5 beats a very accurate Lactate Threshold effort can be determined.

For example a runner finishes a 5k race and checks the average heart rate for the race. An average heart rate of 157 is given. Subtracting 5 beats from this number will show an LT heart rate of 152.

When running tempo runs do not strain to run at the LT heart rate. The LT heart rate is the maximum heart rate to be achieved when running at tempo pace. Instead gradually increase the effort, until your perceived effort starts to feel uncomfortable. Starting out at too hard an effort will shorten the length of the tempo run.

A good rule of thumb to follow is to begin easily and as the body warms up increase the pace until the desired heart rate is obtained. Decrease pace when the upper limit of heart rate for tempo run is reached. Continue pace for 20 minutes.

As fitness improves lengthen time of your tempo run. Retest every 4 weeks to determine if threshold has risen. Your improvement will level off. This is normal; each person has their maximum level of improvement.