Lactate Threshold Training to Improve Endurance

As an endurance athlete, you know about the wall – the elevated lactic acid levels in your bloodstream that preempt your best intentions to continue.

Avoiding the wall is critical to improving your endurance performance, and increasing your lactate threshold is critical to avoiding the wall.

Can you train your body to increase lactic threshold? Yes, you can. In fact, elite athletes and coaches know that this is essential to improved endurance performance and success.

I have another book I’d like to recommend for just that training regimen: Lactate Threshold Training by Peter Janssen, MD. I think it will help provide in-depth insight into the way your body produces and uses energy and the causes of dreaded lactate accumulation.

Whenever you’ve had sore arms or legs following a workout, or worse – had to let the pack surge ahead when running or cycling, unable to keep up – acidosis (the accumulation of lactic acid in working muscles) is the cause. High lactate values cause muscle fatigue.

In his book, Dr. Janssen delineates interval workouts specifically designed to train your lactate system using your heart rate as a guide. Many heart rate graphs explain his training concepts and testing. He also includes general and specific advice with examples.

Beyond the information he provides regarding lactate and the effects of acidosis, Dr. Janssen also delves into overtraining (including the importance of recovery to elicit the benefits of ‘supercompensation’), circulation (creating a ‘sports’ heart), nutrition (best nutrition for endurance sports and energy consumption for events), and heart rate patterns (helping determine lactate and comparing performance capacity).

I’ll admit that reviews on Lactate Threshold Training are mixed. There is some controversy about Dr. Janssen’s thesis about lactate threshold training, and some reviews cite careless language and charts that may be difficult to understand. However, reviews also point out that there are many pearls of wisdom about endurance training, and the information presented is the nitty gritty that many endurance athletes seek. This is where his general and specific advice comes into play – you’ll understand how you can apply the information to boost your own athletic performance. Despite problems cited in reviews, reviewers feel it is a great book for athletes in many sports, including running, cycling, and triathlons.

I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t feel there was real merit and that it is worth the cost and your time to read and re-read it as needed.

Anything you can do to improve your lactate threshold and reduce acidosis will improve your endurance and athletic performance. And that’s really at the heart of what matters.