How to Calculate a Lactate Threshold Running Velocity

Perform a field test on a measured course.

Perform a field test on a measured course.

Your lactate threshold running velocity is the speed at which lactic acid begins to build up in your muscles. The higher your lactate threshold running velocity, the faster you can run for an extended period of time. This makes it a great measure of your cardiovascular fitness. If you want to know your lactate threshold running velocity, you have several options at your disposal.

Lab Testing

According to "Runner's World" magazine, the best way to measure your lactate threshold running velocity is to undergo testing in a physiology lab. This must be conducted by an exercise physiologist and "Runner's World" notes that this can be "expensive and time consuming." An added problem is that these tests are typically performed on treadmills; your lactate threshold running velocity may vary in an outdoor environment.

Lactate Analyzer

You can test your lactate threshold running velocity using a portable lactate analyzer. But to do this you need to stop mid-run to take a blood sample from your ear or finger. After reading the blood samples with the lactate analyzer, the machine will provide you with a printout graph indicating your lactate threshold running velocity.

Field Test

A simple way to test your lactate threshold running velocity is with a field test. Start running until you reach a speed that you can sustain for 30 minutes. It may take some time to settle into this speed; once you do, start timing your run. Continue running for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, measure the distance that you've covered. To measure the distance you'll need to use a GPS device or you can run on a track or measured course. Divide the distance in meters by 1,800. This will give you your lactate threshold running velocity in meters per second.

Pulse

Instead of relying on your velocity, you can use your pulse to estimate your lactate threshold. As you run, rate your effort on a scale of six to 20. Increase your running speed every two or three minutes until you reach 13 on the scale. Check your pulse at this point. This pulse is your lactate threshold running pulse.

 

Photo Credits

  • Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images