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Preventing Lactic Acid

Ok, so its inevitable that we get the burn right? But how can we reduce the burn and is there any way of preventing lactic build up that becomes crippling and may make you pull out?

I had an Olympic Distance race on sat - posted a P.B for the swim (24.12) but proceeded to do 1.13.12 on the bike (my half olympic would normally be around 33-34 mins) and by the time the run came I was in bits - could barely run at all and posted a 47 min 10k when my 5k off the bike is normally 20-21 mins. My legs were very heavy and I couldnt get my heartrate up to racepace at all!

Maybe I went too hard on the swim?

I do interval training (obviously) but is there anybody out there with any other tips?


  • Jelly legsJelly legs Posts: 278
    I am no expert but,

    You cant prevent it, all athletes produce lactic acid.

    But what you can do is learn through training how to deal with it more effectivly.

    The best way to do this in my opinion is do some research using the web and then base a training program around that.

    I would add that one result in one event would not nessaserily mean you would get the same result in another.

    Did you alter anything before this event, was the bike ride in similar conditions, did you taper your training in the same way, what about nutrition leading up to the event, did you change anything before the BAD race

  • Geoff_BGeoff_B Posts: 12
    Although very new to tri I have found the following,

    I am new to tri and did the MK sprint last month and when I came off the bike I had massive cramp in the 1st 400m and luckily managed to get rid of it and carry on but learnt my lesson (probably also a lack of fitness was a major fact).

    Since then I have worked on brick sessions a lot more but the most important thing I have worked on is my hydration on the bike to make sure that my electrolyte levels were not dropping which causes the burn/cramp that you get.

    I have experimented with just water and various sports drinks and found the amount I now need to get off the bike and feel like I still can do a run and that was more key that doing loads of training I think. But that is what has worked for me!!

    As Jelly Legs said I dont think you can prevent it but learning how to control it can help avoid that burn.
  • trispacetrispace Posts: 25
    In order to deal with lactic acid a little better you need to look at building your ‘lactate threshold’ or ‘lactate tolerance’ levels for the specific disciplines. All this means is that you need to train your body to prolong the build up of lactic acid, i.e. increase your time to fatigue. If you’ve blasted off on the bike or run disciplines you could have burnt out immediately without even knowing it, hence the drop in pace throughout the rest of the race.

    One of the best ways to increase your lactate tolerance is to perform interval sessions of varying efforts with recovery. I use my turbo trainer to complete interval training shortly after the new year in order to prepare me for early duathlons. An example of a run interval could be six-minute intervals at 10-K pace, with two- minute recoveries. Starting with two intervals per workout and gradually build to five. As your tolerance improves shorten recoveries from two minutes to just 60 seconds. With interval work you need to have completed solid base training period prior otherwise you could be progressing to quick and lead to injury. I would speak to one of the coaches at your club as they should be able to provide you with some sessions based on your current ability levels and goals for the season.
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    Did you taper? Some of that sounds like a tad of overtraining perhaps.
  • jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    Find your lactate threshold either roughly 80% of max hr,slightly more scientifically by using the Conconni test,or more professionally by a sports lab .Once you have it use it during the race as the level you know your body will not produce lactic acid.Or drink lots of bicarb of soda.
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    only very slightly more scientifically, Conconi is pretty discredited these days, due to his tests not being overly subjective if I recall, or repeatable, or relevant.

    Be very careful with bicarb supplementation, more likely to puke[:@] [:'(]your way to the finish if you have not tried it out & since lactic is a fuel source buffering it may not be the best option, but extending your time at threshold would be.
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    Oddly enough tying up 2 threads..creatine may do a better job http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/0864.htm.
  • jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    Conconi got discredited due to a run in with the drugs police about 10 years ago,as with any test you will need to keep doing them at regular intervals as you get older.The bicarb of soda was often used by TT cyclist to try and buffer the lactic onset but it is only capable of buffering for a few minutes,like wise with creatine it has only a limited effect.
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