Lactate Threshold Training

Age 51, my HM PBs are just outside 1.30 and 10K just inside 42m, I have been improving for the last five years despite my biological clock working against me!

During races heart rate is average 170 and max 180 although they have been dropping by about 1 beat per year as I age (per expectation).

I follow a 10 week, 3 runs a week schedule.

Intervals at 3.30 to 4.00m pace - 400, 800, 1600.

Tempo at 4.00 to 4.15 pace - 5 to 15K

Sunday Long at 4.30 to 4.45 pace - 12 to 24K

My shiny new watch gives me accurate race predictions and a Vo2 Max of 51.

It tells me my Lactate Threshold is HR 155 and pace 4.46 which seems very slow / easy unless I step up to marathon distance - do you think it may be incorrect?

Also - any suggestions on alternative / additional training ideas - I'd love to go sub 1.30 but training more frequently will be tricky from a time management point of view  and I worry about over training.

I twould be fun to train within a HR zone rather than all pace based training but what upper and lower limits would you suggest for Tempo and Sunday long runs respectively?

Sorry for the lengthy post and thanks in anticipation of any advice.





  • There's no easy runs there is there? I'm sure you'd improve with just more running easy. You're just running a bit too fast for improvement
  • Mikhail, I train to heart rate/perceived effort and run easy and long runs at between 125 and 135 bpm against a max of 180. I do something like a tempo run on a weekly basis covering 6miles or so at around 150bpm. Threshold efforts are around 160 bpm but I don't do them that frequently. Though my watch reckons LT threshold is 157, I am working off the definition of threshold as 10 mile race effort and I have a couple of measured race efforts to go off.  I think the watch has to track more than a few runs before the calculation homes in, but for me the measurements are highly plausible.

    As for improving, I would echo Cougie's remarks. Unless you are getting a serious dose of aerobic exercise elsewhere you have to find at least another couple of easy runs of around 45 mins in the week. A mid week longer easy run of around 60-75 mins would boost your endurance.

  • VDOT52VDOT52 ✭✭✭
    I go by the rule of thumb that easy running is at 75% of max HR for bread and butter runs or even less for a warm up or a long run which could be less than 70% as muddyfunster days too.

    Threshold runs tend to be at 83% early in a PB campsign and build to 88% nearer to my race so therefore 155 serms a pretty safe bet for you if your known maximum is accurate.

    As stated by the others, some easy running will be a good idea and is the route to least injuries if you add it in slowly.

    Your half is much faster than mine (although that was in 45mph winds) and your 10k is a bit slower than mine so we are in the same ball park so to speak.

    You are doing well of 3 runs. 2 extra easy runs and doing your other runs st a sensible pace will get you where you want to go.
  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    I'd echo the above. Not a lot of easy running in that schedule. All your training paces look at the very fastest end of what I usually do but my PB's are a bit faster.
  • Really interesting feedback - many thanks to all of you.  In most things in life the harder you work the better so I have a 'psychological' barrier to 'easy running' but your guidance is clear and consistent.

    Top up my existing schedule with an extra run of 45 to 90 minutes at say 4.45 should be feasible.  As I'm doing intervals Tuesday, Tempo Thursday and Long Run Sunday I guess this new run will go in on Friday or Saturday.

    It will bring down my average pace but if my 5 HM's per year are better quality (I aspire to be a human metronome rather than fade in the last 5K) and FASTER then it will be worth it.

    I have the Reading next week and then Hackney in early May so I'll try the new regime  and report back.

    I have named my additional run "Less is More".

    Thanks so much for the advice and feedback.



  • VDOT52VDOT52 ✭✭✭
    I'd say 5:15 - 5:45 pace would be more like it for an easy run off your 10k time. Less is more is the right idea in terms of intensity but the run should be gradually built up to be around 90 mins to 2 hours to give you the full benefit of it.

    Good luck
  • I had a think about you on my long run today Mikhail - hope you don't mind. I think you may need to address some other dimensions of running as your weekly interval+tempo+ long run combo seems awfully boring. Maybe mix things up a bit and rotate the intervals with some fartlek and Kenyan hills, and swap the tempo occasionally for a progression run or some long cruise intervals in the threshold hr range. Maybe consider adding in some hill sprints and strides to keep in touch with good running form. You also don't say much about conditioning work in support of the running ? It gets to be essential the faster you go and the more miles you do.

    Thanks for the further comments.  This is the plan I have followed for the last few years but I conveniently ignored the instruction to cross train at least two days a week as well!

    My new fourth run will be at 146 to 153 bpm (Zone 3)  according to my Garmin so the pace will be whatever it will be.  It will be a change to run to a HR pace though so I'm looking forward to that.

    Lol muddyfunster - glad my training regime passed the miles!  I'm OCD so looking on a schedule and following it is what I do.  Choosing between Kenyan Hills or Fartlek and being spontaneous would freak me out.

    You are right though, I do need more variety to round off my fitness.  So I will add in the 'Less is More' easy run and then maybe make some more changes after that.

    I'm encouraged that there is still scope to make improvements if I was already training perfectly it would be more depressing.




  • I wouldn't call that your easy range actually Mikhail unless you have a very high max hr. The top of that range is just below the LT assigned by your watch ...

    I am the opposite with respect to plan following - I prefer to stick to a few guiding principles and work week to week around those. I get to listen to my body and change course if necessary that way.
  • VDOT52VDOT52 ✭✭✭
    As muddy says- that is not easy running if your max is 180. That is steady running and won't do what you require.

    5k pace plus 2:30 - 3 mins is about right for a true easy run for someone with your times.

    Any faster than 5k pace plus 2 mins is fuelled by ego and is actually a steady run.
  • 132-146 (Zone 2) it is then.  Cheers.

  • Hi Mikhail.  I'm a similar runner to you in terms of age and achievement.

    If you're OCD about your running, then please be OCD about reading more widely on the subject.  I'm amazed at that Runnersworld plan that you're following.  It looks like utter madness to me... prepared by someone who has no idea about setting a training programme (although they probably have many more qualifications and experience than me, to be fair!!  For those who didn't follow the link, it has 3 runs per week. These are...  A very challenging speed session. A tempo run at HMP minus 15s per mile and a long run for endurance...  at HMP plus 30 seconds.

    I can live with the first two but to combine them with such a fast pace for the long run is folly. Isn't it?   Most runners would say that long run should be 90seconds or more per mile slower  (I know Mikhail talks pace per km, but the programme is in miles... and I'm more familiar with min per mile too, sorry).

    You've had lots of good advice already, and I echo it. But I still sense that you're going to go too fast.  The very first thing I would do is to really slow down that long run. Perhaps keep it between 8:30 and 9:30 mins per mile  perhaps sub 140bpm.  You need to do this to optimise the building of a sound aerobic base.

    In fact, I would go so far as to say that you should spend 6 weeks where to do no more than one run per week at above 140bpm.  Invest some time in building your base aerobic fitness..  then you've got something to work with and build upon when you increase your speed work again.

  • VDOT52VDOT52 ✭✭✭
    Muddy, I think he is doing the first program. I agree it is a horrible way to train but it is was only ever meant to be for long term runners with a huge base and an indestructible body.

    Mikhail, read this
  • Thanks for the further comments NorthEnder and the link to a great thread VDOT52.

    I'm just relieved you are not suggesting a move to Portland Oregon, upping the mileage to 135 over 15 runs a week, hiring a nutritionist, masseur and asking Salazar to coach me! image

    The FIRST programme is pedalled as a 'shortcut' to faster times for lazy people which is why it worked for me and I went into it with my eyes open.  To be fair RW are selling magazines not focussed on helping individual runners achieve their specific objectives.  I agree with your views on its limitations.

    Now, based on your advice, I accept a slower long run and an additional easy run will allow better quality tempo and interval sessions and I'll just have to give it more time each week if I want to make further progress.  

  • I could have used the advice and the internet 30 years ago but probably would have ignored the advice at that age.  A bit more background on my stupidity.

    Ran the Birmingham marathon 1982 - when Nike was a running shoe not a global fashion brand and 90% of the runners were male club runners 8% were female club runners and 2% were chancers like me who at 18 couldn't afford to climb Everest but wanted to tick a bucket list (before the term was invented).

    Minimal training but wearing a pair of Nike Waffle soles I couldn't fail!  First half 1.45, second half 2.30.  But I finished and got a medal, a silver blanket and some kudos at school.

    Not put off by the abysmal time, I joined a running club with my Dad when I was 25 and did Sunday club runs, local 5Ks, 10Ks, 10M assorted cross country and the odd HM.  Over the next four years I gradually improved to  HM best 1.50. 10M 70m 10K 40.01 5K 19.34 in a completely unstructured way.

    I also got rid of my sense of thirst because taking on water on a run just slowed me down.

    At 29 - I got a book from the library with a schedule for a 34 minute 10K.  90 miles and 6 runs a week.  So I stepped up from 30 miles a week to 90 miles a week just like that.

    About a month in I got shin splints.  This was a surprise because I assumed I was indestructible.  Apparently not.  Rest meant I lost my fitness and I moved with my job so I packed in running.

    A few years later I had to have kidney stones removed.  They are extremely painful.  Apparently going without water to train yourself not to feel thirsty was bad.  Who knew? -  No one told me. 

    Roll the clock forward 15 years I move to London and decided to tick VLM on the bucket list.  30,000 people finished so there was little skill in just finishing (one foot in front of the other repeat) so I determined a 4.00 target using the FIRST programme linked to in post above.

    Got round in 3.40 with a paracetamol to ward off a cold (probably banned but hey it was for charity).  The run not the paracetamol.

    Pleased that I had gone from 4.15 to 3.40 I decided rather than a fast car or an affair my mid life crisis would involve running faster as I got older.  HM is my chosen distance.  Marathon takes too long, 10k all over too quickly.

    Time came down steadily from 1.40 to 1.30.45 on the three runs a week FIRST plan then I got stuck.  Hence my cry for help on here.

    Thanks for the advice and encouragement - I'll leave the fast car and affair on ice and keep running.





  • VDOT52VDOT52 ✭✭✭
    That thread I linked to should be a sticky as it is the most concise how to you will see on this forum. It had helped me no end.

    Good luck with your training and keep us in hired of how you do. Just bear in mind that you may think you are losing fitness while you get your base sorted out but you need the foundations in the ground before you build a skyscraper.

    Good luck.
  • That thread is a really good read. I posted recently looking for a book on the topic of lactic threshold testing (in the wrong forum), is there anything I can sit around with and work my way through that you guys would recommend or is there not much to add to the thread above?

  • Just to add my tuppence ha'penny. I'm 53 and have similar PBs to the OP. I did 90:28 four years ago as an HM PB while still in my 40s, but my times fell away from there to closer to 1hr40. (there have been health issues involved). My times have improved in the past year, to the extent that I did a 90:47 at Surrey a couple of weeks ago. The training schedule I followed and adapted (a Hal Higson one) had one easy long run a week, increasing in time from 90mins to 1hr45 to two hours as the schedule progressed (and every so often one of these was a 3/1 - that is, three-quarters of the run at an easy pace, the last quarter at close to race pace: very hard to do, for me at least, but I think it helped); one tempo run a week, ranging from 30 mins to an hour); and some intervals (from 400m to 1600m). The rest were easy/recover runs and, to my amazement, nearly all just three miles long. I wondered about whether such short runs at slow pace were worth it, but I did manage to set my second-fastest time with this schedule. I immediately felt on reading the original post that there wasn't enough easy running in there. I think if nothing else it gives you a chance to really enjoy the running, and not worry about time and distance.

  • Having completed Reading on Sunday rather than have a rest today I did my first "Easy" run. 7k at HR 141 and 5 minute per km pace. It felt strange not pushing the pace and I definitely needed the HR feedback to keep within the correct range. 

    I may do my long Sunday runs at the same pace and just keep the Tempo and Interval sessions for speed. 

    At Reading, rather than slam my heart rate up to 172 and watch my pace fade in the second half I kept nearer 165 and although there was some fade not as much as previously.



  • With a max of 180, 172 is 5-10k territory Mikhail. Not surprised you have faded if you charge off with that sort of effort.

    My max is 180 and 141 is a steady run for me. I did my lsr on Sunday at 125 av. hr (8 min/mile).
  • Dr.DanDr.Dan ✭✭✭

    The FIRST plan really does require you to do the 2-3 days of cross training ... these sessions replace the "extra" recovery/easy running days. But because you're doing less running, the running that you do end up doing needs to be more intense than if you were doing a more traditional "6 days of running per week". It's probably a good programme if you really want/need to cross train (for example, I bike commute every day, so that can make running 6 days per week hard work ... or say you were also a triathlete on the side). But if you're not doing the cross training, then a more traditional running schedule is more sensible ... as in the link already posted ...


  • You will be amused / horrified to know my average HR for the last five years of following the FIRST plan has been across all runs 160bpm!


    Still - I'm never to old to learn and this new tantric running will I believe pay off.image

  • VDOT52VDOT52 ✭✭✭
    It is counter intuitive to run most of your miles easy but it will help you smash hard sessions.
  • Dr.DanDr.Dan ✭✭✭

    Having spent most of my training following the "lots of slow easy miles" approach, I'm actually finding it counter intuitive to follow FIRST, even though it's working well for me at the moment.

  • VDOT52VDOT52 ✭✭✭
    image Dr Dan, if you look up some of the Hadd stuff (on mile split) I think you'll find plenty of really good workouts to hone the base that you already have. His approach to race prep was a lot of tough workouts though!
  • Dr.DanDr.Dan ✭✭✭

    Yeah, that's probably why I started this thread! imageimage

  • VDOT52 wrote (see)
    It is counter intuitive to run most of your miles easy but it will help you smash hard sessions.

    I believe it will but I will need to be patient. Re the ego point you raise up thread - I'm thinking I'll get my shirts printed with "I don't normally run this slow!" image

  • Thursday was 10K Tempo.  Typically I would have tried to hit 43.30 to 44.30 4.20/4.25 pace and run it like a race but I decided to run to my LTHR of (153 - 163) - stayed in zone for 80% of the time and recorded 45.01.  Pace 4.30.  But the real win was I was less tired than if I had gone flat out.

    Saturday was 7K easy (132-146) in zone for 70% of time Pace 5.16.

    Sunday was 24K easy (132-146) in zone for 70% of time Pace 5.05.

    Much less tired than when I ran hard and here's the first SURPRISE VO2 Max up from 51 to 52!

    Too early to confirm race speed benefits but I am enjoying running to HR rather than Pace it makes a refreshing change and I already feel ready for some kick ass intervals on Tuesday.

    Felt fresh at end of 24K rather than at death's door - the only problem was when a fit fast runner passed me and I had to resist tagging on behind.  Also adjusting my HR is trickier than adjusting pace as wind and gradient have an impact and I hadn't realised how sensitive HR is.  I'm getting the hang of it including the lag effect between effort and HR.

    Thanks to all for your support and hope your running is going well.




  • VDOT52VDOT52 ✭✭✭
    Re heart rate, as long as the average heart rate is what you set out to do then going over on the uphills is not an issue because your heart rate will drop off on down hills. A loop that I run fairly often has a few hills and I'll go ever my 'number' by about 10 on the longer inclines but under by more than 10 on the long declines if I keep my pace even. The big picture is more important than the odd spikes here and there. Also as it takes heart rate a while to rise at the start of a run you will find that even if you keep exactly to your number, your average will be just under the target, so the odd spikes help bring it up to make it look 'prettier'image

    I did some 1k repeats yesterday and I run them by feel and pace as heart rate is a bit too erratic to use as a measure on a 4 minute effort, so do your intervals by pace or you'll be all over the place.
  • That's good news Mikhail. I was interested in your 160 bpm average for all runs. As a point of comparison last year I averaged 135 bpm for an average speed of 8.1 mph over all runs. The year before was 138 for 7.8 mph.  I raced quite a lot both years so you can maybe deduce that I did a lot of easy running.

    Re: intervals, you can use heart rate drop off post interval to determine when to go again. The rate at which heart rate drops is worth keeping an eye on as it's a good indicator of your fitness.

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