10K Lactate Threshold Training Workouts

By Rick Morris

Lactate threshold training and tempo training are sometimes confused or combined into one type of training. They are actually two different types of training that have common goals. Tempo training is usually composed of longer runs of 2 mile or more at paces between marathon pace and just slower than 10K pace. Lactate threshold training, on the other hand, is made up of shorter repeats at 10K pace or faster. The goal of lactate threshold training is to raise your lactate turn point by training at paces that flood your muscles with vast amounts of lactic acid. See lactate threshold training for more information.

Lactate threshold training sessions are especially good workouts for 10K training because your 10K race pace is about 2.5 percent faster than your lactate turn point pace. That makes 10K training nearly ideal for improving lactate turn point. There are hundreds of possible lactate threshold workouts you could do to improve your lactate turn point. Here are a few to get you started. Please warm up before doing these workouts.

1 Minute Lactate Builders

Lactate threshold workouts work so well because they flood your body with lactic acid and the other metabolites that contribute to running fatigue. There are few workouts that raise your lactic acid levels more than 1 minute lactate builders. This is a generic lactate threshold workout that is an excellent training session not only for the 10K, but for all distances from the mile to the marathon. You can do this workout on the track, road or trail.

  • Description: 12 x 1 minute repeats at nearly full pace with 2 minute recovery jogs at an easy pace.
  • Pace: 1 minute repeats at a very hard pace. The pace of your repeats should be at very close to all out pace. Stay smooth and relaxed throughout the repeat.
  • Recovery: 2 minutes of very easy paced jogging between each 1 minute repeat

200 Meter Burners

Here is a classic track workout that’s also a very effective lactate threshold workout. You should do this one on a 400 meter track on a day that you are feeling strong and recovered. Make sure you will be able to schedule a recovery day after this one. You’ll need it.

  • Description: After a warm up run alternate between running 200 meters at nearly all out pace with 200 meters at about marathon pace or a pace that feels moderately easy. Do as many laps that you can. When your stride begins to fall apart and you can no longer maintain a strong pace on the hard 200’s it’s time to stop. Every time you do this workout try to add on additional lap.
  • Pace: Alternating between 200 meters at nearly all out pace and 200 meters at marathon pace.
  • Recovery: None

5 x 400/1600 Meter Compound Sets

This is a lactate threshold compound set. A compound set uses different components that are performed with no recovery within the set. This lactate threshold session is best done on a track so you can accurately judge both distance and pace.

  • Description: Warm up and then run 400 meters at 5K pace. Then slow down to 10K pace for 1600 meters. Take no recovery between the two components. Repeat that set 4 more times for a total of 5 compound sets. Recover between each compound set with 3 minutes of rest.
  • Pace: 400 meters at 5K pace and 1600 meters at 10K pace.
  • Recovery: No recovery between the components of each set. Recovery with 3 minutes of passive rest between each compound set.

45 Minute Fartlek Run

Here is a fun 10K lactate threshold workout you can do on the trail or road.

  • Description: 45 minute run road or trail alternating between 3 minutes at 30 seconds per mile slower than 10K pace and 1 minute at 5K pace
  • Pace: Alternating between 3 minutes at 30 seconds per mile slower than 10K pace and 1 minute at 5K pace.
  • Recovery: No recovery

10K Combination Run

Some training runs are done on the road and others are performed on the track. This workout uses both venues.

  • Description: Start this workout with 3 miles at 10K pace on the road. Then hit the track for 800 meters at 5K pace. Now head back out on the road for 2 miles at 30 seconds per mile slower than 10K pace before hitting the track for a final 800 meters at mile pace.
  • Pace: Run the first 3 road miles at 10K pace. Do the first 800 meters on the track at 5K pace. Run the second 2 road miles at a more moderate pace of 30 seconds per mile slower than 10K pace. The final 800 meters on the track are performed at mile pace.
  • Recovery: None

2 x 5000 Meter Repeats

Here is a difficult workout, but one that is excellent at peaking for a 10K race. Do this workout just a week or so before an important 10K race.

  • Description: Warm up and then run 5000 meters at 10K pace. Recover for 3 minutes and then repeat.
  • Pace: 10K race pace
  • Recovery: 3 minutes of passive rest between the two 5000 meter repeats.