Tag Archives: VO2 max

What Are All These Thresholds?: Lactate Threshold

Doing sprints is one way to help build your lactate threshold. Photo by Ian_UK.

Doing sprints is one way to help build your lactate threshold. Photo by Ian_UK.

If you spend enough time training for anything and start to read articles, message boards, and blogs that discuss your specific exercise be it running, biking, spinning, or swimming you are bound to come across a discussion about lactate threshold. It’s likely you will see this phrase used in conjunction with topics of heart rate training, VO2 max, aerobic and anaerobic metabolism, and perhaps even endurance zones. Unless you have a degree in sports or fitness or are a trained trainer, these words probably read like a foreign language and feel overwhelming.

At least that’s how I felt.

What better way to eliminate that stressed feeling of not understanding all this new training lingo than to learn as much as possible about it? There are endless resources on the topic of lactate threshold but before we get into how it relates to training, some basic definitions would be helpful to outline. Continue reading

What Are All These Thresholds? Introduction

j0313896When I started training for my first half marathon last year I was stumped by how tired I would get after long runs. A close friend, who is now a NSPA-certified trainer (National Strength Professionals Association) recommended I get a Polar watch to monitor my heart rate while training to make sure I was not over-exhausting myself on those long runs. I did and despite having read the owner’s manual there are still some things that stump me about heart rates, “own zones,” and what the numbers really mean.

As I started to pay more attention to message board posts, other blogs, and articles that discussed heart rate training I started to find that heart rate is usually used in the same sentence as lactate threshold or anaerobic metabolism or VO2 max–all terms that in all my years of running I am just now discovering. For example,  a spinning instructor recently had a hand-out at the end of class an article from a copy of Spinning and what is probably the summary sentence of the article is quite foreign to me: “Testing your lactate threshold provides you with a maximum aerobic heart rate because it tells you at what heart rate your body switches to anaerobic metabolism.” Continue reading