Lactate shuttle workout

What is lactate shuttle training ?

With newer studies, it has been shown that the lactic acid produced by the body during an effort is reused by the body as energy. Lactate can be used in the liver to produce glucose but also after decomposition by muscle fibers as fuel.
The aim of this workout is to accustom the body to use the lactate wisely and save the glycogen.
It is also knowned to help to beat the "wall" on marathon by teaching the body a better reuse of lactates as fuel.


To carry out this training, it is necessary to know its thresholds commonly called LT1 and LT2 (Threshold Lactic 1 and 2) in other words the aerobic threshold (LT1) and the anaerobic threshold (LT2).

The LT1 pace is the pace where the body begins to be unable to transform all the lactate produced. This pace is approximately 78% of your MAS (Maximum Aerobic Speed) or about 80% of your HR Max. It's a pace slightly higher than the marathon's pace.

The LT2 pace corresponds to the pace where the difference between the lactate produced and the converted lactate increases significantly. This pace is approximately 85% of your MAS, or about 90% of your maximum heart rate. This is the pace that is usually referred to as threshold training.

These thresholds can also be determined during a stress test.


It's necessary to run 3 minutes to LT2 pace, to let the body produce lactate and then run about 3 minutes to LT1 to let the body learns to recycle this lactate. You can do this sequence 5 times, it gives 5 x (3' to LT2 + 3' to LT1) without recovery time.

If you plan to do it on a track or on a calibrated path, you can do 5 x (1km to LT2 + 1km to LT1).
You can schedule one session per week and integrate it into your long run by gradually increasing the load to reach 2 x 5 x (3' to LT2 + 3' to LT1).

If you're struggling to keep LT1 pace, try running at your marathon pace , it will also train your marathon pace and lactate reuse performance at this pace. You will only have to beat your record!

Note that there is no recovery phase, the LT1 phase serves as recovery. It also seems that this training is profitable for the 10 km and half marathon competitions.

I started to integrate it into my general preparation and I used it in my preparation for the La Rochelle marathon where I broke my personal best.

Speed and pace's table depending on your MAS

With the table below, you will easily find the speeds or paces to hold for the threshold LT1 and LT2.
It should be noted that these speeds and paces are indicative, the thresholds are very dependent on your own capacities.
The table reads as follows: for a MAS of 19 km/h, you have to run have to run the LT1 pace at 14.8 km/h (or 4'03"/km) and the LT2 pace at 16.2 km/h (or 3'43"/km) and this for all repetitions.
So if you don't know your MAS, it would be good to make an estimate by a cooper's test or half cooper's test.

MAS (km/h) 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
LT1 7,8 km/h 8,6 km/h 9,4 km/h 10,1 km/h 10,9 km/h 11,7 km/h 12,5 km/h 13,3 km/h 14 km/h 14,8 km/h
LT2 8,5 km/h 9,4 km/h 10,2 km/h 11,1 km/h 11,9 km/h 12,8 km/h 13,6 km/h 14,5 km/h 15,3 km/h 16,2 km/h
LT1 7' 42" 7' 6' 25" 5' 55" 5' 30" 5' 08" 4' 48" 4' 31" 4' 16" 4' 03"
LT2 7' 04" 6' 25" 5' 53" 5' 26" 5' 03" 4' 42" 4' 25" 4' 09" 3' 55" 3' 43"

To optimize the development of your capabilities as much as possible, do not hesitate to change the effort distances. To know the times to do according to the distance and your MAS, see the calculation page.

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