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The Skinny on Lactic Acid

When I was a young runner, lactic acid was blamed for the delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) that interfered with my ability to climb onto the school bus with ease the day following a hard practice. Since then, we have learned that post-exercise pain is caused by micro tears created when we tax our muscles, and the former scapegoat, lactic acid, doesn't hang out in muscles after a workout. Lactic acid actually fuels our cells when we push ourselves during high intensity workouts. It is hydrogen ions, a by-product of burning lactic acid as fuel, which creates the heavy legged sensation, burning sensation that accompanies running hard and fast.

You will come across the term "lactate threshold" when reading intense training manuals. This threshold is when the lactic acid begins to accumulate in the blood. And when you push yourself to work past that threshold, you train your body to better deal with the biological by product of using lactic acid as fuel. Increasing your lactate threshold helps you run faster for longer and is considered a good performance predictor for endurance events. Training to increase this threshold involves tempo runs and interval training with long steady paced runs. So now that you know how to increase your lactate threshold, will you?


swimalexpur swimalexpur 8 years
i'm a swimmer, and i don't know why, but for some reason when we're training really really hard, they pinch us for lactic acid. i have no idea why but the coaches suppossedly know if you're giving it your all depending on wether your number is high or low.
Allytta Allytta 8 years
wow, in school they thought us about lactic acid... so stupid, init? :))) schools are always behind and just pack your mind with false stuff.
almostloli almostloli 8 years
i think i increased it already.. now it really takes a lot to get my muscles sore too!
Spectra Spectra 8 years
My threshold is pretty high, I think. It really takes a LOT to get my muscles sore after a workout. And when I do get sore, it doesn't last long. My husband isn't in that great of shape though...if we go for an hour long bike ride, he'll be sore for 3 days!
sweetpeabrina sweetpeabrina 8 years
When I get to this point, I feel nauseous. :( I don't run because of this.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Good to know!
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