Why your lactate curve impacts the training you do.
Lactate production is your friend and potential enemy. In the context of endurance performance, we need a rapid lactate building rate for short efforts such as passing another athlete, getting up a hill, or adjusting to rhythm changes.
Lactate production is your friend and potential enemy. In the context of endurance performance, we need a rapid lactate building rate for short efforts such as passing another athlete, getting up a hill, or adjusting to rhythm changes. .
What about too much lactate production? This is detrimental to your endurance performance. Why is this? Excess lactate production lowers your anaerobic threshold(or FTP). For example, if we take two athletes with the same V02 Max and one has a higher lactate production rate (VlaMax), the athlete with a higher lactate production rate will have a lower anaerobic threshold. V02 Max alone, is not an indicator of endurance or sprint performance.
This is the reason a track and field sprinter, who has a very high V02 Max, is horrible at distance events. Their very high lactate building rate is what allows them to be fast for 100 meters, but it’s also what keeps them from using the full capacity of their V02 Max in longer distances.
Why does this matter? Well, how you produce lactate as your intensities increase determines what sort of training will benefit you the most. If we take myself as an example, as I get closer to may race, it is absolutely essential that all of my training focuses on lowering my Vlmax because I produce a lot of lactate at intensities that I perceive as comfortable.
The other danger of excess lactate production is your dependence on carbohydrates for fuel. Lactate production is a byproduct of the anerobic-glycolytic system. Excess lactate production demands carbohydrates. The increase of lactate during aerobic work means less fat and more carbohydrates are being used to fuel the effort. Too much draining of your carbs (even with supplementation during a race) will most likely impact you on the run. If too much lactate is a bad thing for endurance performance, what if you don’t produce enough lactate? This too, can hurt your performance. The danger with an athlete who doesn’t produce enough lactate is that all of their efforts will rely heavily on the aerobic system. For this reason, it’s even more important for this individual to keep the easy, easy. The risk for aerobic fatigue and overtraining is high for this sort of athlete since everything they do is highly dependent on the aerobic system because the anaerobic system offers little help.