Lactate Buildup

I’ve been trying to improve my training to be more scientific and polarized by using a HR monitor and tracking volume and recovery. I received an Edge lactate meter as a gift recently and started using it.

First session: 3x8’ @ 165bpm (running), 8mmol at end of the second interval.

Second session: 50’ @ 120bpm (incline walking), 4mmol at 20’ in.

Third session: 90’ @ 120bpm (incline walking), 18mmol at 80’ in, still at 8mmol 75’ after completion of session.

Max HR: 182
Age: 41, 220lb
Training History: military, calisthenics, weight training, running and cycling, sprint triathlon. No HIIT but being a clydesdale, group training was always hard to keep up.

I’m sure I’m aerobically deficient but this seems way worse than I would expect.

Hello @brothermoose

Exciting path you are taking!!

Before I make some suggestions…( I am not familiar with that meter ). Does it have a calibration process and did you follow it before using it? If so then my comments apply. If not, try calibrating first, and re-doing some sessions.

Before you gather a little more data, don’t get too alarmed with the lactate levels…Yes we often hear that lower is better, but let’s try and gather a bit more data first. ( I have seen people working at a desk after a stressful meeting at 20 mmol…so there is that).

A few things I always try and use with lactate is that one lactate doesn’t tell a story, we need at least 2 to start and tell a story.

Let’s look at your 3x8’ session. I would like to see a lactate at the end of each interval, and even better the beginning and end of each interval.

If you end at 8ish for each interval then you know they were at least similar to each other, but if you know where you started each one, then you can understand the rate of accumulation, I use this a lot.

So if you go from 2.8 at start to 8 at the end over 8 minutes = .65 mmol per minute. If another was starting at 3.5 to 8 at the end over 8 minutes = .56 mmol per minute. So even though you ended at 8, the intervals weren’t the same.

The other way to do this is to take your 3x 8m intervals, take a lactate at each end…and say the goal was to be in maximal lactate steady state…well for this workout they should all end very close to the each other. However, the start lactate does matter, if you start the interval at a higher lactate, and end with a higher lactate, you may need to recover longer to get back to the same baseline before starting??

It would be ideal to start with some sort of an incremental test. If testing yourself you should build in accurate rest periods to take the lactate the same way each time.

The way I do this in cycling would be as follows;

4m at 100w - stop - take lactate around 20-30 seconds each time - start riding exactly after 1m

4m at 125w - stop - take lactate around 20-30 seconds each time - start riding exactly after 1m

etc until you are at 95% perceived exertion (for the first test you don’t need to max out to get really good data).

If you can do that for either cycling or running (go up about .5 miles per hour each step) and post your data I don’t mind having a look!

All the best


This research may be of interest, pointing to under reporting of lactate levels with all of the 5 tested models, more so at higher blood lactate levels:

Keep in mind that this article was published 9 years ago, hopefully manufacturer corrections have take place since:

### Key points

** The reliability of five common portable blood lactate analysers were generally <0.5 mM for concentrations in the range of ~1.0-10 mM.*

** For all five portable analysers, the analytical error within a brand was much smaller than the biological variation in blood lactate (BLa).*

** Compared with a criterion blood lactate analyser, there was a tendency for all portable analysers to under-read (i.e. a negative bias), which was particularly evident at the highest concentrations (BLa ~15-23 mM).*

** The practical application of these negative biases would overestimate the ability of the athlete and prescribe a training intensity that would be too high.*

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