Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Lactate Threshold & Hip Pain

Today was a good run day.  Sure by the time I got done running I was practically knocking on the 12min/mi mark, but when I started, I started at my lactate threshold (9:30-10:00min/mi).  I held my LT for 2 miles before giving myself permission to slow down.  I could have held it for at least another mile but I didn’t want to burn out and not be able to finish my whole 8 miles.  The good news is that on weekday run days I tend to procrastinate and by the time I walk out the door to tackle my run, I have barely enough time to actually do the run and then get ready for work and leave on time so I’m not late.  So, that means I literally don’t have the time to stop and walk the rest of my distance.  I HAVE to run the whole thing.  So that’s good, I don’t have the liberty to quit or slack off with my running.  But, I felt good today and didn’t even remotely feel like I needed to quit.  I usually don’t get that feeling thanks to loving running so much, but every now and then, just like I’m sure every runner does, I get the feeling like I just want to stop and give up and walk back home.  It’s rare, though. 

Speaking of that and my habit of procrastinating on my week day runs, I had mentioned that I had made an appointment with my psychiatrist to review my medication dosages.  Anyway, the appointment went well and he suggested I try cutting the dose of my mood stabilizer from 2mg to 1mg daily and then he’d see me back in 2 weeks to see how I’m feeling at that time.  He said that anything it does will be temporary, but that this slump I’ve been feeling is just my depression cutting through my meds and should be temporary anyway.  If I show improvement on the lesser dose of the mood stabilizer, then we’ll keep that up for a certain amount of time (I’m sure he’ll tell me what that is, providing this works) and then my dose will go back to normal when I’m no longer experiencing the depression “bleed through.”  I’m really hoping this works, but if it doesn’t then he said we’d talk more about upping the dose of my antidepressant.  He said I’d been stable on that dose for a while now (over a year and a half) and he didn’t want to mess with it if he didn’t have to.  I completely understand and agree.  I don’t want to keep upping the dose of my antidepressant until it no longer works for me and he then has to find a completely different drug that will work for me.  That would be bad in my opinion. 

So, back to the lactate threshold training.  If I do this once a week for 2-3 miles on my short or medium length run, I can eventually increase my overall speed and lower my lactate threshold, which means that I can run faster for longer periods of time.  While I have no aspirations of being speedy, it would be nice to get an age group award in one of the races I participate in at some point.  I don’t know how many women were in my age group for the 8K last Sunday, but I know I was 12th in my age group.  If I could get my usual average pace down to 9:30min/mi  at least, then I’d be happy.  I mean, I’m comfortable at the 10:30 that I keep right now, but I’d like to get my workouts done a little faster.

I’m also not the most efficient runner.  My arms do sort of cross in front of my body as I swing them.  I think my gait is more of a fluid shuffle than it is a true stride.  When I see the official race pictures of myself, I usually just look like I’m just walking because my stride is so short.  So, I guess a little goal of mine is to actually look like I’m running when I’m running.  When I was running at my lactate threshold this morning, my breathing wasn’t labored like I would think it would be.  I just felt good in general.  And, while I did slow down as much as I did, I never got the feeling that I was overwhelmed.  The only thing was that I felt the need for more fluids than usual, but that was due to the time of day (aka-the temperature was about 85 and there was little to no shade for most of the run and hardly any breeze at all…oh and part of the trail I was running today was newer than most of it, so the concrete was extra bright and reflecting more heat up toward me). 

Something that worries me right now is that shortly after getting to work this afternoon, my hip started hurting.  I tried stretch it and massaging it, but nothing has helped.  When I got home tonight, I tried the foam roller, but that just hurt like hell.  I don't know what is causing the pain.  If it still hurts tomorrow, I will call my doctor and make an appointment.  I do NOT want this to get in the way of my running on Friday.  But, of course, if it hurts to walk normally, it's going to hurt to run.


  1. Have you done an LT test? Your LT pace should be a lot more precise than a 30 second spread (i.e., it's exactly 9:34 or something). Let me know if you haven't done an LT test and I can tell you how it works -- hurts like heck! Is your hip pain maybe IT band? Lots of stretches for hips (IT band and otherwise) online, so hopefully that will help. Glad you had such a good run!

    1. nope, haven't done an LT test, but i did read your blog about it that you posted when you did one. but you didn't really break it down to exact specifics on how it's done. i'd love to know how it's done and figure out what my exact LT is. i'm thinking the hip paid is an IT band issue. i have a doc appt tomorrow to find out.

    2. LT test is key -- then you know where your actual zone 5 is. Wear a HR monitor and turn off autolap on your garmin. Basically you warmup run for about 10 minutes (no need to record this on your watch if you don't want). Then you start or hit your lap timer and you run as hard as you can sustain for 30 minutes. After the first 10 minutes of the "hard as you can sustain" run, you hit the lap timer again. Then you hit the lap timer (or just stop your watch) at the end of the 30 minutes. Then you cool-down run about 10 minutes.

      That leaves you with 2 data points. One that shows the first 10 minutes of your max effort, one that shows the remaining 20 minutes of your max effort.

      When you've done that, post your stats and I'll help you figure out how you calculate LT pace and LT heart rate.

    3. so i just hit the button on the bottom right of my Garmin that says "lap"? easy enough. i'll let you know when i do this. thank you so much!!!

    4. Yep. You don't have to use your garmin at all during the WU/CD, but record one split of 10 minutes and one split of 20 minutes. All out effort. Fastest pace you can sustain for 30 minutes. You should feel A LOT like death and/or vomit at the end. Like you couldn't have gone one second faster, or one more meter at that pace.

    5. okay, coolness. i have a 4.5 mile run planned for a couple weeks from now, i'll do the LT test on that day instead of my planned run. plus, that'll be at the end of my easy week for the month, so i'll be more rested than any other week.


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