Context: Aerobic pace makes up a large volume of my weekly mileage. I use 1-2 easy paced runs (slower than aerobic), 1 workout, and 1 long run, and everything in between is aerobic (I've seen it called Z2 or Z3 or endurance)

After reading this study and measuring my blood lactate at my previous aerobic pace, it seems that what I thought was aerobic based on my heart rate, is actually pretty easy for me.

Any ideas on how to determine my actual aerobic pace? The study seems to show the best correlation between RPE and blood lactate (which is the best indicator of what system is being trained) and the worst correlation between HR and lactate. For sure, I'm scrapping my HR readings.

  • How are you measuring your blood lactate? – JohnP Oct 17 at 18:10
  • @JohnP Lactate Pro meter – montserrat Oct 17 at 18:18
  • Nice. We had to do blood draws when I was in college. Sucked. – JohnP Oct 17 at 18:30
  • Definitely an interesting study, nice find. A few more rep points and you will be able to join in chat as well. Are you a currently competing x-country runner? – JohnP Oct 17 at 18:33
  • Thanks! Very new to SE in general :) I run road races, and am trying to improve everything from the 5K to the marathon. I'm not very fast though, still a new runner. I'm just a scientist/engineer who loves reading and experimenting as well, hence the lactate readings! – montserrat Oct 17 at 19:02
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I wouldn't completely scrap the HR readings, although I am definitely not a fan of HR based training. It can be an indicator of fatigue and recovery on a long term basis, however. I find it more useful to track as a trend, rather than an immediate assessment metric.

To be honest, if you want to find your own personal levels, is to pretty much follow the protocol laid out in the study (i.e. the initial 30 minute time trial, followed by the time trials at various percent paces over the following days).

Therefore, the first test run was a T-30 pace which, as stated, was used to determine each subject’s speed at MLSS. The second test run was completed at the predicted speed of recovery training (70 to 80% of MLSS). The third test run was completed at the predicted speed of extensive endurance training (80 to 90% of MLSS). The fourth test run was completed at the predicted speed of intensive endurance training (to 95% of MLSS). The final test run was completed at the predicted speed of aerobic power training (107-110% of MLSS).

Note: MLSS definition: Maximal Lactate Steady State (MLSS)

If you have a heart rate monitor, you can also use that to correlate your heart rate at the same paces. You can use a calculator such as this one or similar to get an idea of what your equivalent pace might be for each testing segment.

Run each trial, test your lactate, then see how that correlates with the amended training intensity targets (Table 7, page 157 on the PDF). If you fall within those guidelines, then you should be on target with your zones. If you fall short or go over, you know you need to adjust that range.

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