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Decoder Series: VLa max

As you know, at GD Coaching, we love the science. If you're new to the sport, not a sports scientist or you just don't really care that much, then you might find the terms a bit baffling. That's ok - it's my job to decode the waffle and provide you with the sessions to follow to make the numbers work. If the numbers work, you'll have a great race and see huge improvements in your training!


So, as part of our decoder series, we summarise VLa max and why it's important.


VLaMax is the maximal lactate production rate.

This is the marker for the maximal capacity for performance of your glycolytic system. I appreciate that still sounds 'sciencey', so let's decode further.


The Glycolytic system is anaerobic, it's the breakdown of carbohydrates in to glycogen or glucose to resynthesize ATP. The glycolytic system is activated when you're at roughly 6 -30 seconds of max effort or up to 2 minutes of hard effort. Anything more than this, and you're crossing over in to the aerobic system, where oxygen is needed - this is called the Oxidative System, but more on that another time.

Did you know
Carbohydrates are the only macronutrient that can be broken down without oxygen

So if VLa Max is a measure of your glycotic system, then why do we hear everyone seemingly wanting a higher VLa Max? Exactly! You actually want a lower VLa Max if you're training for an endurance event!


If you're 'going long' then you want to reduce your VLa Max, reducing your glycolytic fibres and becoming more aerobic.


"For comparison: world class marathon runners have a VLamax in the ballpark of 0.3 mmol/l/s. But if you want to run 100m in sub 10sec it needs to be more in the ballpark of 1.0 mmol/l/s." INSYCD

Why is this? Well, as an endurance athlete, you want to avoid running out of energy, so you want to train your body to burn fat rather than carbohydrates and you want to avoid an excessive build up of lactate early on in your race.


We can train our bodies to reduce our VLa Max.


Get in touch to get tested to find out your scores and to discover how we can create you a training plan to suit your endurance event.

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