Guide to Lactate Threshold Workouts (Chart)

Lactate threshold workouts are the secret weapon of the distance runner. They’re manageable enough to be done year-round, don’t require the same recovery period as more intense speed work, they have benefits for every race distance from 5k to marathon, and improving your lactate threshold is highly correlated with faster racing times.


Can you tell I’m a fan?


Below is a chart which outlines four different types of lactate threshold workouts, the details on distance, rest, pace, and what races they are MOST beneficial for.


Remember that any of these would help improve your performance across a range of distances, so feel free to mix it up. I think you get more benefit out of using a variety of these rather than doing the same workout week after week.


Also, know that the cardinal rule of lactate threshold workouts is not to go too fast! It’s easy to do because you’re running for a much shorter distance than you can hold the pace for — but that’s what you need to do for the workout to be effective. No extra credit in these workouts for going faster than the recommended pace!


I’d love to hear your feedback, comments, and questions — leave a comment and let me know what you think!



Lactate Threshold Chart


To download a PDF version of the chart, click here.


About Coach Carl
Coach Carl is a USA Track & Field Level 2 endurance coach who works with runners of all ability levels to reach their goals. He has been featured in Runner’s World, Women’s Health, Men’s Fitness, and Competitor. For information on his coaching services, click here.