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Efficient workout for lactate use

Posted: Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:05 pm
by pfaffelh
Recently, I heard about specific intervals which help to improve lactate use. I wonder if anyone has used such workouts in this forum or would have an opinion if it makes sense.

The main example is this: run a total of 50x400m. Every odd numbered 400m run at about 10k pace (so lactate accumulates) and every even numbered 400m run (not too far) below threshold (e.g. 20-30 seconds per mile slower than marathon pace, such that lactate is cleared).

Apparently, the idea is that the slower paced interval is still fast enough such that the body rather learns to use lactate (which is available due to the fast interval) than other energy sources since this can be done more efficiently.

In my training I used this kind of workout on a treadmill and think it is a hard workout, but I really felt much better running faster after a week or so. However, I would not like to do this workout more often than every other week.

In an interview from 2011, Renato Canova also describes something similar some Kenians are doing now (start at time 1:30). He speaks about buffering lactate which is trained this way.

Any ideas about this kind of workout are much appreciated.

Re: Efficient workout for lactate use

Posted: Sat Oct 05, 2013 11:59 am
by Spider Man
pf ... these are known as "lactate shuttle" intervals ... they've been around since the 1980s ... & before that the intended effects were achieved (somewhat haphazardly) through traditional "Fartlek" training. In terms of "teaching" the body to make better use of lactate there is logic in this approach. I tend to mimic this approach with my young (teenage) athletes by having sessions such as: 2 x 10 minutes at "steady" pace with 20-30 second "surges" every 2 minutes ... the kids quite enjoy this session. I don't think, however, that you'll find too many people trying to run 50 x 400m,  ... that's for Kenyan marathon runners!

Re: Efficient workout for lactate use

Posted: Sat Oct 05, 2013 7:42 pm
by Tinman
They work fine but I think anyone who does 50×400 is doing too many. You only need to do 3 to 6 miles worth of variations and quicker paces.

Re: Efficient workout for lactate use

Posted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 4:03 pm
by pfaffelh
Spider Man and Tinman,

thanks for your replies. A new search revealed that the described intervals are also relate to "new interval training", which is apparently not as new anymore. More details are found on