"Examples of Lactate Threshold Workouts
Continuous run of 26-32 minutes with the first 5-7 min. at 10-15 seconds/mile slower than LTV, the next 18-22 min. at exactly LTV, and the last 2.5-3 min. smoothly accelerated from 95% of VO2max speed down to 105% of VO2max speed.
Suppose Dave is a good collegiate runner with a 14:20 5,000 PR and a 30:00 10,000 best. A 14:20 5,000 time predicts a LTV of 5:02 mile pace and a VO2max pace of 4:30 per mile. Dave would thus probably benefit most from a LT workout beginning at roughly 5:10-5:15 pace for a mile, 5:02 pace for 18-22 min. (4 miles would take 20:08), then about 0.6 miles at an average speed of 4:30 mile pace (allowing the first min. of that last segment to squeeze the pace down). The total distance covered would be about 5.6 miles, give or take a bit, with a total time of around 28 min. (average pace of 5:00), plus or minus a few minutes if Dave decided to go longer or shorter in the middle.
Since Dave could theoretically run 5:02 pace for an hour, he could obviously run harder during those middle 18-22 min., but the effect on his aerobic development would not be any better. In this case, going harder would only mean getting an anaerobic workout which would require more recovery time and which might actually undermine full aerobic development. Remember, economy is promoted through a steady VO2, which can be controlled perceptually by keeping the effort aerobic, the breathing pattern consistent, and the heart rate constant. Heart rates during the time spent at LTV should stay below 85% effort. If Dave's resting pulse is 40 and his maximum is 200, his range is 160. 85% of 160 is 136, so by staying below 40 + 136 = 176 beats/min., Dave would be running within 85% of his maximum effort. A little higher pulse near the end of the workout is acceptable.
These LT workouts are not time trials and the reins should be kept on the pace until the very end. Notice, however, that two critical speeds (95%-105% of LT pace and 95%-105% of VO2max pace) are being attained. This ensures that correct neurological feedback is achieved by recruiting more ST fibers early and more FT fibers later.
It is best to run all LT workouts in racing flats in order to develop ankle power and flexibility. This not only improves running performance, it also reduces the risk of injury. Heavy training flats restrict the full range of motion of the ankle, and performing every single continuous run in "trainers" is a prescription for injury.
Continuous run of 60-70 min. at 95%-96% of LTV with only a minor increase in tempo during the last few minutes.
This duration at this pace is comparable in intensity of effort to a run of 18-22 min. at LTV. It is therefore not as hard a workout as the continuous run described in the previous section, since additional running at a faster pace is performed in that shorter effort. Both workouts require similar recovery times, however. This is due to impact stress and the fact that the longer run expends more calories and requires more carbohydrate reloading. Heart rates should hover around 80%-82% of maximum effort.
This slower, longer tempo run was employed by the late Kiyoshi Nakamura in his coaching of 2:08:27 marathoner Toshihiko Seko, and it is still used as a staple workout in the training of Japanese marathoners. Statistical evidence (and experience) has shown that running at 95.2% of LTV for 65 min. provides the optimum training effect for improving both LTV and running economy. Elite runners generally run at 93% to 95% of LTV for a marathon race, so this 60-70 min. effort also provides a good pace workout without excessive impact stress and without risking glycogen depletion.
Collegiate runner Dave, with a 10,000 PR of 30:00 and a LT pace of 5:02 per mile, would run at 5:15-5:18 pace for a 60-70 min. tempo outing, and might get as far as 13.3 miles in 70 min. (the Japanese marathoners often go 20,000 meters, or 12.43 miles, in around 61-62 min.). Since Dave has a resting heart rate of 40 and a max of 200, 82% of his max effort would result in a pulse of 171. By keeping his heart rate around 170 or slightly under, he will derive the desired benefit from this particular workout.
Dave's 30:00 10K PR is equivalent to a 2:21:44 marathon, which requires a 5:24.3 mile pace, so by running a few secs./mile faster than this, Dave is also developing efficiency at the rhythm needed for the marathon in case he wants to contest this distance."