Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lactate test

After they had finished with me last night I looked as though I had just narrowly won a fight with a vampire, with streaks of blood standing out violently against the fluorescent yellow of my jacket. To measure the lactate levels in your blood, the only way to do it is by extracting blood. As timing is the key - we are interested in how quickly the body is able to metabolize or "clear" the lactate - the trick is to prick a hole in the subject's ear, thus providing a steady supply of drops of blood to analyze.

I wouldn't normally have my lactate tested before a "B" race like the Half Marathon I am running this weekend in Getafe but, in this case, one of the students of the Universidad de Europa where my trainer is based, was looking for victims - I mean subjects -´to form part of a study for a doctoral thesis. Normally each test requires a patch which costs around 7 euros, so I thought I might as well take advantage of a free test. Perhaps the real reason was that I knew that I would get a "discount" on my otherwise hard Tuesday night training session! (I still had to run 10 minutes at my anaerobic threshold afterwards, which I did at around 16,8 kph).

The protocol was one I was fairly used to. I had to run a kilometer round a track at a prescribed pace. In order to make sure I kept the right pace, I had to ensure that a watch I was provided with "beeped" every time I passed a marker. More than keeping pace, it was important to avoid sudden accelerations and better to err on the side of going too slow, otherwise my lactate levels could blow up prematurely. The first two kilometer runs were at a pace supposedly below my Half Marathon pace, at 4:00 per kilometer (15 kph). The second two, I ran at 3:45 (16 kph). At the end of each kilometer, I would take my pulse (155, 156, 166, 170) and Iker would extract a drop of blood in order to measure my lactate levels.

Afterwards I had a chat with Jonathan. Based on the lactate test and recent training, he said that I should try to run the Half Marathon at a pace of 3:50. That means running it in 1:20, or a two minute improvement on my best time!! As it is a "B" race, I think I can afford to take the risk. Sometimes you are more limited by what you think you can achieve than you realize.

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