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Training & advice

Threshold Running

What is a threshold run? The simple answer is that it is a run carried out at an intensity or speed just below where your body would not be able to get rid of the acidosis that builds up in your muscles. You can only run above that pace for a short amount of time before you start to feel like you are running through treacle. This is why threshold runs are very important for road-runners, especially half marathon and marathon runners as you should aim to complete most of that race just below this critical level.

A rough guide to your threshold pace is your ten mile race pace so if you do a ten mile race and work out your average time for each mile that will give you an approximate threshold pace. If possible you should also look at your average heart rate for that race so that you have both heart rate and pace to guide you on your threshold runs.

How much threshold running should be put into your training programme? The answer to that is "a lot" but there also needs to be sessions run at other paces too. There should be some faster running and some very easy running. Both of these play an important role in your preparation for your target race.

Threshold running sessions come in various guises. You could do some threshold running within a steady run. It could be something like a six mile run with the middle three miles at threshold pace, it could be a lactate shuttle session such as running 400m just above lactate threshold followed by 400m just below and repeating it for two or three miles or it could be long repetitions such as 4 X 2km or 5 X 1 mile.