Lactate for Endurance Training: What is it?

Sooner or later, as an endurance athlete, you will come across a discussion of ‘lactate’, whether you are also an exercise physiologist or not. Blood lactate concentrations are routinely measured in endurance athletes, and so-called ‘lactate thresholds’ are used to inform training decisions. Some athletes and coaches even spot-test blood lactate concentrations during exercise to regulate intensity during training. And this is becoming more popular than ever – word on the street is in Kona this year, just about every athlete stopped to take lactate. Of course, this has been massively popularized by the Norwegian program's success, and rightly so! They are doing some amazing things!

However, I believe many people misunderstand what lactate is and isn’t and what blood lactate responses to exercise can and can’t tell you. So, in this blog, I will briefly summarise some of the fundamental physiology of lactate metabolism. Brace yourself for some...

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Right Fuel, Right Time – Carbohydrate Manipulation to Make Every Session Count!

One of the hot topics in endurance sports nutrition at the moment is ‘carbohydrate periodization’ (4, 6).

What is carbohydrate periodization?

Like training periodization, in which we manipulate our training programming to best achieve our training objectives, carbohydrate periodization is a nutrition strategy in which carbohydrate intake is manipulated in line with training demands and to meet the objectives of individual sessions. These objectives may be to maximise acute performance within the session, or to facilitate high-fat oxidation rates, for example. We call this the ‘Right Fuel, Right Time’ approach. The rationale for this approach is that adequate carbohydrates should be consumed to support the quality of training sessions but that we should avoid overconsuming carbohydrates on easier, less demanding days, as this may blunt the signals that lead to positive adaptive responses (3).

In this blog, I will briefly discuss some of the research on the...

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New Study: The Cellular Energy Sensor, AMPK - Switching it on for Training Adaptation

by Dr Dan Plews

As we have discussed in several previous blogs, and in our courses, adaptations to endurance training are produced through activation of cellular signalling pathways in response to individual training sessions, with these cellular signalling pathways activated through detection of the physiological stresses generated through exercise. In this blog, we are going to focus on one of the most well-known proteins in the adaptive signalling cascade, the cellular energy sensor AMPK.

AMPK, or to give its full name, 5’adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase, is an important protein in the detection of the cellular energy stresses generated during endurance exercise (1). Specifically, AMPK within the muscle is activated by the metabolic stresses generated by exercise, and subsequently activates signalling pathways associated with endurance training adaptation (2). This pathway makes a lot of sense; if our muscle is stressed by exercise, we detect it and then...

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How to Taper for Triathlon

endurance training ldt102 Sep 23, 2021

We all know that the pre-competition taper is one of the fundamental components of the build-up to an endurance event. In this short blog, we will briefly cover some of the science behind the purpose of, and best practices in, tapering. We cover the science and practice of the pre-competition taper in much more detail in LDT102, our course on training programme fundamentals.

 Why do we need to taper?

In order to optimise your taper, it is important to first understand what a taper is trying to achieve. Tapering has been defined as the deliberate reduction in training load in the days prior to competition (4), the purpose of which is to provide the athlete with sufficient rest and recovery to perform at their best, but without reversing the adaptations gained through training (6). Tapering is therefore a balancing act between providing rest and recovery and preventing detraining.

Crucially, tapering has been shown across a number of investigations to be beneficial to endurance...

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