What is Lactate Profiling?

Lactate profiling is a test which determines the lactate threshold of a person.

Blood lactate is a by-product of the body when it does not have sufficient oxygen for energy metabolism. This happens when a person is exercising at too high an intensity. As blood lactate increases in the body, a person will find it difficult to continue with physical activity at the same level of intensity and would need to slow down or stop. The Lactate Threshold is a point when blood lactate accumulates more than it is eliminated or reused by the body.

Why do a Lactate Profiling test?

Lactate profiling enables an individual to find out the speed or intensity he or she will be able to sustain in a long-distance event without the onset of any physiological debilitating effects. Lactate profiling can also help establish training intensities which can aid in the planning of a training program for an athlete.

Who can benefit from the test?

The test is targeted at seasoned runners looking to improve their running performance systematically. Due to the prolonged test duration, you should be preferably someone who has at least completed a half marathon and is currently training to improve running performance. As a guideline, you should have already been running at least 60 minutes, 3 times per week, for the past 12 weeks.

How is it done?

Prior to the commencement of lactate profiling, there will be a 5-minute warm-up that allows the participant to get used to the treadmill and also prepare physically for the test. The test will be a discontinuous incremental running test with increases in running speeds of 1km/h for each stage. These stages will last for 3-5 minutes with a 30 second rest period separating running stages. These rest periods are for fingertip capillary blood sampling.

A resting blood sample will be taken before the start of the test. During the procedure, the blood samples will be taken at the end of each stage. The fingertip will be wiped with an alcohol swab and dried with a tissue paper before being pricked. A blood sample will be collected after discarding the first drop of blood. An automatic analyser will be used to determine the blood lactate concentration.

When the subject finishes the test, a final blood sample is taken from the fingertip and the subject is allowed to perform a cool down. Thereafter, the tester would analyse the data while the subject cools down and showers. A consult with the Exercise Physiologist would be the final element of the test.

How will I feel during the test?

Towards the end of the test, you may experience, nausea, breathlessness, giddiness and fatigue. These feelings are usually transient. You can, however, request to stop the test at any time. If you have any concerns about your health, please consult your doctor before undergoing the test.

What are the risks associated with this test?

Some of the possible risks include chest pain, allergic reactions, abnormal heart rhythm, abnormal blood pressure response, heart attack and stroke. However, the chance of this happening in an average patient is approximately 1 in 10,000.

Will I have my report on the same day after I perform the test?

Yes, the test takes a total of 1 hour and 30 minutes with a maximum of 35 minutes running on a treadmill. Thereafter, your running data will be analysed. Once the analysis is done, the Exercise Physiologist will discuss the results and the training plans with you.

What should I do?

How should I prepare for the test?

Please refrain from any strenuous activity two days before the test as this might affect your performance during this maximal test. You should have your meal (breakfast or lunch) at least 2 hours before the test. No caffeine should be ingested on test day. Please be adequately hydrated an hour before the test. Please come in sports attire and bring along your identity card on your appointment date. If you don’t feel well as the test day nears (e.g. cold, flu, muscle fatigue), you can call us at (65) 6850 1569/70 to change your test date.

How can I make an appointment?

Please contact Singapore Sport and Exercise Medicine Centre @ CGH (SSMC@CGH) at Tel (65) 6850 1569/70.

Note: Doctor’s consultation is recommended if you are in doubt of your body condition for the Lactate Profiling test. However, this does not guarantee that you are certified fit to take the test on the same day.