Marathon Training: Why Does Lactate Threshold Matter?

Hi, my name's Marcus Brown and I'm a World Marathon Major Six Star finisher and this will be my third Berlin Marathon (supported by Sportsshoes and adidas).


In the latest episode of my Berlin Marathon training series, I look to understand what pace I should plan to run the marathon.

I attend the University of East (UeL) London Human Performance Clinic to undertake a Pro Lactate Threshold test, which was conducted by Dr Andy Galbraith, Associate Professor in Exercise Physiology and Richard Avery BSc, MSc, CSci, AFHEA, Applied Sport & Exercise Scientist.


There are two lactate threshold levels, which your body produces when you exercise.

The first lactate threshold is the effort you can maintain for longer runs. There is a build-up of lactate, but it is at a level where you can process it, and you can maintain it for a long run i.e a marathon.

The harder you work, then the lactate will build up in your blood and cause the burning sensation in your muscles that will make you either reduce your effort or make you stop. This is known as the second lactate threshold. Where you get that burning feeling when your body ends up building too much lactate and our body can’t reprocess it to give ourselves more energy.


Knowing what your lactate threshold is, gives you a clear understanding of what effort you can sustain for the marathon. And I’d highly recommend it. 

If you want to get a test done at the UeL Human Performance Clinic the team will help you out, please let them know you found them from this video.

The test costs £80. To get in touch with the team email 

Prior to undertaking the test, based on my training and heart rate zones I calculated what I thought my target marathon pace was, and I ran to that pace/effort at the Big Half Marathon.

Post the Berlin marathon, I will follow up in a future episode to see if the finish time correlates with my lactate threshold test.


Here is a recap of my Berlin Marathon YouTube series:

EPISODE 1: Berlin Marathon - Course Tips and Overview 

The first part of this video covers my marathon training put into practice at the Big Half Marathon in London. In this episode I also provide some on-site course tips live from Berlin to help you run your best Berlin marathon.

EPISODE 2: Berlin Marathon - Nutrition Tips with Laura Tilt (Registered Dietitian)

I speak with Laura Tilt who is a Registered Dietitian, health writer, brand consultant, author of Get Gutsy and creator of The Gut Loving Podcast, in the second part of the video. You can follower her on Instagram @nutritilty

This video features:

  • The essentials runners need to consider for marathon training

  • Clearing nutrition myths

  • What a typical training week looks like (using me as example)

  • How to plan your nutritional needs for the last week of your marathon

Filmed by Kingsley at Freezeframe Media

This YouTube series is supported by SportsShoes and adidas.

Keen to learn more about fuelling for performance and adventures? Then check out our Nutrition category for more handy tips, advice and recipes.


Welcome to the SportsShoes Nutrition Hub! We’ve teamed up with the experts to bring you the very best advice on the best foods to fuel you and your adventures.

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