How to increase lactate threshold

How to increase lactate threshold - main image

Increase your blood lactate levels with these lactate threshold training techniques.

Lactate threshold occurs when the exercise intensity you’re engaging in gets to the point where the levels of lactate in your blood are noticeable. But how does it all work?

According to James Dunne, the “onset of blood lactate accumulation occurs when you start relying on your anaerobic metabolism to produce the energy to maintain this high intensity of exercise.

Through regular lactate threshold workouts, a runner can increase the pace at which they hit their lactate threshold, in effect training their body to run faster for longer without the heavy-legged feeling of fatigue that comes with the build-up of blood lactate“.

How do I increase my lactate threshold?

First off, it’s important to note that you should only start off with a maximum of one lactate threshold training session per week at the beginning of your lactate threshold improvement journey. Give yourself plenty of rest time and make sure you allow yourself space to recuperate.

It’s important throughout your training that you test your lactate threshold often so that you can see how you’re progressing.

Three ways to increase your lactate threshold

Run for longer

Want to get your mitochondrial respiration up? Running workouts that take you further will help the little powerhouses within your cells produce more ATP, which will therefore increase your lactate threshold.

So, if you’re a runner who wants to improve their lactate threshold, you can begin by doing some aerobic metabolism work (that is, run for longer than you have before!)

Add tempo running workouts into your training program

These are all about pacing yourself – work out what pace you run when you’re running a 10km race, when you’re warming up, and when you’re cooling down. Then, spend half an hour or 45 minutes running at this race pace, with 5 minutes warm up and cool down either side. Keep at it, and you’ll be well on your way to improving your lactate thresholds.

Lactate threshold intervals

If you don’t fancy sustaining a tempo run for 30-60 minutes, try splitting the 10km race pace down into 3-5 reps for an appropriate length – say, 1600-2000m.

Make sure you give yourself recovery between reps, so that you can still stay in the right state.


Your blood lactate concentrations will thank you for doing these tips. It’s all about finding the right kind of high-intensity training volume for you. Maybe you like endurance performance exercise, or maybe you’re more into high intensity interval training – either way, once you know your lactate threshold pace, you’ll be able to reach your maximal lactate steady state.


What if I don’t like high intensity exercise?

If you aren’t interested in increasing exercise intensity, then unfortunately, working on your lactate threshold power might not be for you. That’s okay though – everyone’s exercise physiology is different. Just because you aren’t one of the elite athletes, doesn’t mean you can’t experience every major benefit that exercise has to offer!

What is the Anaerobic Threshold?

The term anaerobic threshold was introduced in the 1960’s based on the concept that at high-intensity levels of exercise, low levels of oxygen (or hypoxia) exist in the muscles (Roberts & Robergs 1997).

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