The Key Benefits Of Lactate Testing For Runners

The Key Benefits Of Lactate Testing For Runners

If you have heard of lactate testing for runners but not exactly sure what it is, you are in for a treat!


  • Lactate is a product of energy production
  • The aerobic threshold represents the point where lactate in the blood first starts to rise
  • Lactate threshold is the point where lactate begins to accumulate in the blood faster than it can be cleared
  • Lactate testing is used to find both aerobic and lactate threshold of the test subject
  • Training just below the lactate threshold allows you to get the most out of your exercise time and avoid undesirable training effects.

What Is Lactate

Lactate is a product of energy production and there’s some level of lactate accumulation in our blood even when resting. During intense exercise, when the body relies more on the anaerobic pathway for energy production, resulting in more lactate being produced. Though lactate is not the cause for the burning sensation during strenuous activity, there is a correlation.

The Two Threshold

Two thresholds measured are aerobic threshold and lactate threshold hold. These terms can be complicated as it is not clearly defined, and there are many names used interchangeably when referring to either of these two thresholds.

Names that are used instead of the aerobic threshold are ventricular threshold 1 or efficiency threshold. The lactate threshold is even more complicated, it was used to be called the aerobic threshold hold, along with; anaerobic threshold, maximum aerobic function, economy threshold, critical speed, maximum steady-state and more!

While a sports scientist needs to understand the differences, it doesn’t matter that much to an athlete.

All those terms have the same underlying meaning, the aerobic threshold represents the point where lactate in the blood first starts to rise, and lactate threshold refers to the maximum pace you can sustain without an increase in lactate accumulation, or the maximum pace you can sustain without quickly tiring out.

What Is Lactate Testing for runners

Lactate testing for runners is often conducted on a treadmill. The test is used to find both the aerobic and lactate threshold of the test subject and to determine the relationship between pace, heart rate and lactate level.

This test involves the test subject to run at increasing intensities with a finger-prick blood sample collected at the end of every stage to measure lactate levels in the blood, along with Heart Rate, Rate of Perceived Exertion, and pace.

Benefits Of Training Below Lactate Threshold

Majority of training volume (>80%) should be spent on developing a strong aerobic base and achieving a higher aerobic threshold. By working at this intensity, we can increase mitochondrial capacity, improved fat utilization and much more!

Having a higher aerobic threshold would mean you’ll be able to run at a higher intensity at a lower cost of energy compared to someone with a lower aerobic threshold.

All of which is not an adaptation of high-intensity training. To top that off, the risk of getting injured while running at low intensity is really low.

Zone Predictor Formula

While lactate testing is the gold standard for measuring lactate threshold, there are many formulas available that attempt to predict the two thresholds.

The most common being the 5 zone heart rate model. While it is convenient and gives you a rough idea of your training zone, this method is highly inaccurate. Click here to find out more information about the 5-zone HR model.

Lactate Testing In Singapore

Sign up for a lactate testing service today to put the science in training.

A consultant will provide you with the identified optimum heart rate training zones and walk you through how you can leverage these data to optimize your training program.

Click here for more information!

Coach Justin

- Certified Personal Trainer | Obstacle Racing Specialist | Sports Science <3

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