- Running at 13 kph I produce 3.87 mmol/L of lactate
- Running at 14kph I produce 6.66 mmol/L of lactate.
- Running at 15kph I produce 8.12 mmol/L lactate
How long I can keep going at depends on my tolerance to lactate and my body's ability to wear it down. While I do not have access to figures that show exactly what that is, the exponentially rising rate of production will inevitably mean that if I can tolerate and keep going at 7 mmol/L, even short sojourns into the 15kph area will cause my legs to fade.
Whatever my limit is, as long as I keep beneath it, I'll be fine (at least for a sizeable amount of time). Staying too far below the line, one the other hand, does not serve any useful purpose.
Don't believe me? Well learn from the best and read below instead then...
Now here's a woman who perfectly understands her own strengths and weaknesses and meticulously plans and plays to them. Emma enjoyed telling me this story the other day, and I'm happy to retell it her:
Paula went through pretty much every type of distance in her illustrious career, most notably 5000m, 10000m and cross-country (her running cradle). Her problem was simple (and one I share according to Emma): The natural physical limit of her max speed was too low to beat the fastest runners on 5000 and 10000m.
When she changed to marathon she almost immediately got pay-off in the forms of medals and victories. Why? Because while her maximum speed was lower than the fastest marathoners, she kept racking up more mileage than any of her competitors. End result: She couldn't match them for max speed, but she could keep a higher average speed for longer.
That's the lesson for all those of us who are not natural speed demons or whose propensity of fast twitch fibres is so low that we have no answer to the savage short burst attacks of someone more naturally endowed as a sprinter.
There's no one you can't potentially beat. If someone is faster than you, then you must train harder than they do. If you do that, you can't match them for speed in the sprints, but you can wear them out with a higher average pace.
If they keep training harder than you, however, or the difference between your max speed and their max speed is so big that the training required to beat them with average pace becomes unfeasible, the yes, you may have to put down your sword and surrender. But don't, if you gave it your all, then you're a champion regardless: The best you can be in what you do.
This doesn't work without strategy and tactics, however First plan your race, then get the experience needed to adjust your tactics along the way for optimal average pace.
- Attack on transition areas (up to flat, up to down, down to flat): Most people slow down here, and you can get "free" metres
- Be aware of multiple hills: If there's multiple climbs on the route, save energy on the first, don't go all out
- Use the Hills: It may hurt, but in shorter races, or races with only one climb, this can be the best place to attack your competitors.
- Don't save too much going down: You can reach tremendous speeds going down, but it's tempting to use the descents to recover from ascents. Don't do this in shorter races, take full advantage.
- Watch out for flat endings: Most races finish with a long descent, but watch out for those who have half a kilometre or more of flat at the end. You'll need to hold back a little bit on the descent, or the flat will turn you to jelly.
- Shift Rhythm: Very steep slopes can only be survived by small controlled steps. Less severe slopes must be defeated with long slow strides (this will decrease your heart rate significantly). Adapt your rhythm to all terrains, going down should feel like a dance with the mountain, don't resist it, follow it.
- Adapt Your Breathing: Your breathing rhythm will need to change with your running rhythm. Keep your chin up!
There's probably many more, but I'll leave it for tonight, the Navigational Challenge beckons tomorrow. Sleep well all!