The Lactate Threshold (LT) , also known as the “Ventilatory Threshold” is a critical exercise point to understand for the endurance athlete. The LT is the point at which the demands of the exercise outdistance the body’s ability to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide in a balanced fashion.
As exercise intensity increases during a run, bike, or swim the body will produce lactic acid as a bi-product of aerobic metabolism without enough O2. The amount of lactic acid will not be able to be kept in balance by the aerobic metabolic machinery. This excess lactic acid spills into the bloodstream and the body buffers the lactic acid with sodium bicarbonate. The result is the production of carbon dioxide (CO2) which must be removed through the ventilatory/pulmonary system. In the Peak Performance Lab, we fit a specialized mask and harness system to you while you are running on the treadmill or cycling using our Computrainer Lab System. This mask collects breath-by-breath measurements of the O2-CO2 exchange. After the running or cycling test, our state-of-the art system analyzes the gas exchange data and we plot your Lactate Threshold. The LT is then linked with a HR, speed or power output, and rate of perceived exertion (RPE) to help you know this data point during your training and competitions.
Knowing your LT can help you to improve training and performance significantly. Without knowing your LT, you may go out too fast exceeding your LT too early and crashing…if you’ve ever gone out “way too fast” and bonked you crossed your LT early and body began to shutdown to improve your blood chemistry and remove that lactic acid. Check out the Peak Performance Lab page for more information on testing the LT. Good training is smart training!