Back in June I did a lactate step test to determine my lactate balance point, and get an overall picture of my physiology. While I produced very little lactate, I had a spike in lactate at low heart rates, when my body should be more than capable of metabolizing the load. So, when I started working with Scott Johnston, he suggested doing 90 percent or more of my training volume in that easy zone to become more effecient. As a result, he said, I’ll bump up my anaerobic and lactate threshold, allowing me to go faster with more ease. It sounded a bit counter-intuitive, to train sloooooow (for me, since the heart rate zone I spiked in was barely more than a trot) to be able to go fast. I trusted him, however, and took a lesson in patience. In the past several months, I’ve walked more than I’ve walked in the past several years. I’d start to hammer up a hill, look down at my heart rate, sigh, and start walking. Once I recovered, I’d start jogging a bit. Seven seconds later, I’d walk again. Scott let me do just enough fast stuff that I didn’t go completely bonkers, but I’ll have to admit, I sometimes wondered why I wanted to get seriously fit, rather than do pretty well with running kind of fast all the time. Today, I’m glad I did.
We did another test this morning, and everything Scott and I were hoping happened, did. With three solid months of training, my previously confused physiology is now totally with the program. The spike in lactate disappeared, I produced less lactate at nearly every speed and heart rate, and was able to go a mile per hour faster before nearly falling off the back of the treadmill. All with easy base training. Luckily I’m in the right sport, and easy base training is 100 mile race specific training, so I should be good to go! After I recover from next weekend, I’ll be able to bump up into higher heart rates and be able to run more, which is really exciting.