Norwegian Double Threshold: 7 Secrets to pushing out anaerobic fatigue

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Written By Matthew Brunken

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In recent years, the Norwegian Double Threshold System has gained attention in the world of endurance training. This innovative method focuses on optimizing an athlete’s performance by pushing their anaerobic threshold, which is the critical point between sustainable and unsustainable intensity levels during exercise. By incorporating specific workouts and monitoring lactate levels, this training system has produced remarkable results for many Norwegian athletes on the international stage.

The core principle of the Norwegian Double Threshold System lies in lactate threshold training. This approach involves designing workouts around an individual’s lactate levels, which can provide insights into their aerobic base and anaerobic threshold. Combining this with other training methods, such as polarized and pyramidal training, allows coaches and athletes to develop individualized training plans that yield optimal results. Additionally, regular testing and monitoring ensure that athletes maintain an efficient balance between high-intensity and lower-intensity workouts, leading to continuous performance improvements.

Key Takeaways

  • The Norwegian Double Threshold System focuses on pushing an athlete’s anaerobic threshold for improved performance
  • Lactate threshold training, along with polarized and pyramidal training, form the foundation of this approach
  • Routine testing and monitoring are critical components for maximizing training outcomes and ongoing improvements

Norwegian Double Threshold System

The Norwegian Double Threshold System is a training method utilized by many successful Norwegian runners to improve their endurance and performance. This system focuses on intensity-controlled threshold training, which involves pushing an athlete’s anaerobic threshold to its limit. The main goal is to increase the sustainable intensity level during long-distance running.

We often see double-workouts in this training system, which allows athletes to maximize their training time by including two separate sessions in a day with a focus on threshold training. An example of a typical Double Threshold day could be an AM session consisting of 5x2000m at threshold pace, followed by a PM session with 10x1000m, also at threshold pace. Another variation could include an AM session of 5x2000m and a PM session of 25x400m, both at threshold intensity source.

The Norwegian approach to running training has produced many successful athletes on the international stage, and it’s not only about intensity control and doubling up on workouts. It also incorporates the use of lactate meters to monitor and adjust training intensity as needed. One Norwegian model focuses on lowering the lactate level from a standard level of 4.0 mmol/l down to below 3.0 mmol/l while still maintaining an effective training pace source.

In summary, the Norwegian Double Threshold System is a comprehensive approach to endurance training that focuses on intensity control, double-workouts, and the use of technology to monitor and adjust an athlete’s lactate levels. This method has proven to be effective for many Norwegian runners in achieving exceptional performances and benefits runners who wish to challenge their aerobic capacity and increase their overall efficiency during races.

Lactate Threshold Training

Lactate Threshold

Lactate threshold represents the point during exercise at which lactate, a byproduct of anaerobic metabolism, begins to accumulate in the blood quicker than it can be removed. It is considered a critical marker for endurance performance, as it denotes the balance between lactate production and clearance. We aim to increase the lactate threshold through training so that endurance athletes can maintain a higher pace without experiencing rapid fatigue.


LT2, also known as the second ventilatory threshold, refers to the point at which both ventilation and lactate accumulation significantly increase during exercise. This indicates that an athlete is working at a higher intensity, producing more lactate than can be cleared. By training at or near LT2, we can improve an athlete’s ability to tolerate higher levels of lactate and subsequently increase their overall performance.

Lactate Controlled Approach

The lactate controlled approach is a key component of the Norwegian model of endurance training. This method involves monitoring an athlete’s blood lactate levels using a lactate meter to ensure workouts are conducted at the appropriate intensity. Monitoring lactate levels helps personalize training programs, allowing athletes to target specific lactate thresholds and effectively optimize their endurance performance.

Through this approach, we aim to balance high-intensity lactate-guided threshold interval training with a high volume of low-intensity training. By carefully adjusting the intensity and volume of workouts, we can help athletes achieve their desired performance goals while minimizing the risk of overtraining or injury.

Training Approaches

In this section, we will discuss different training approaches in the Norwegian Double Threshold system. The core of this system focuses on maximizing an athlete’s anaerobic threshold through a combination of workouts, tempo runs, and hill repeats.

Double Threshold Workout

Double Threshold workouts are essential to the Norwegian Double Threshold system. These workouts involve two sessions per day, targeting intensity levels close to an athlete’s anaerobic threshold. The goal is to push the athlete’s limits and increase their overall endurance. By performing these workouts regularly, we aim to improve our body’s ability to handle higher intensities during longer periods, leading to improved race performances1.

To execute a double threshold workout, we would first warm up with some light jogging and stretching. After the warm-up, we would start a series of intervals at a pace close to our anaerobic threshold. We would rest for a short period between intervals and repeat the process. Following the first session, we would recover with proper nutrition and hydration before commencing the second session of the day, which follows a similar structure.

Tempo Runs

Tempo runs are a critical component of our training approach, allowing us to practice running at a comfortable yet challenging pace2. These runs help develop aerobic capacity and improve lactate clearance, both crucial factors for distance running performance.

In a typical tempo run, we would begin with a warm-up before steadily increasing our pace to around 80-90% of our maximum effort. Maintaining this intensity for an extended duration trains our body to adapt to the stress and become more efficient at managing lactate production.

Hill Repeats

Hill repeats are another essential part in our training approach, providing both strength and cardiovascular benefits. They help develop lower body strength, power, and efficiency while also improving our ability to run at a higher heart rate3.

During a hill repeat session, we would find a steep hill of moderate length and run up at a hard but controlled effort. Once reaching the top, we would jog back down as recovery before repeating the hill sprint. We would perform multiple repeats to achieve the desired workout effect.

By incorporating these different training approaches into our overall plan, we can effectively take advantage of the Norwegian Double Threshold system to improve our aerobic capacity, anaerobic threshold, and overall running performance.


  1. From Norway to Flagstaff: Double Threshold Training Explained

  2. An Overview of the Norwegian Approach to Running Training

  3. How the “Norwegian Method” Is Changing Endurance Training

Aerobic Base and Anaerobic Threshold

Aerobic Base Building

Building a solid aerobic base is a key component in the Norwegian double threshold training method. The objective of this phase is to improve our body’s ability to handle extended periods of exercise at low intensities, primarily using the energy systems in Zone 1 and Zone 2. By doing so, we enhance our endurance capabilities and lay the foundation for more intense training later on.

To achieve this, we focus on long slow distance (LSD) runs, which are easy to moderate in intensity and performed for extended periods of time. This allows us to develop our cardiovascular system, increase capillary density, and improve our body’s ability to utilize fat as an energy source.

Anaerobic Threshold

Once we have established a strong aerobic base, the Norwegian double threshold method emphasizes the importance of enhancing our anaerobic threshold. This threshold represents the point at which our body can no longer meet the energy demands of exercise solely through aerobic metabolism and begins to rely on anaerobic energy pathways.

The anaerobic threshold is influenced by factors such as ventilatory thresholds, which can be measured during progressive exercise tests1. By targeting this threshold, we can train our body to work more efficiently, delaying the onset of fatigue and increasing our overall endurance.

Training at or slightly below anaerobic threshold occurs in Zone 2, which the Norwegian method refers to as sub-threshold2. Key workouts in this zone include interval-based sessions focused on increasing the time spent at the anaerobic threshold, working towards improving our performance in longer races.

In summary, the Norwegian double threshold method places great emphasis on developing both our aerobic base and anaerobic threshold. By focusing on these aspects of our training, we can ensure that our endurance and overall performance consistently improve, setting us up for success in our athletic endeavors.


  1. Anaerobic Threshold – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics

  2. How To Apply The Norwegian Method To Training – INSCYD

Norwegian Athletes and Coaches

Ingebrigtsen Brothers

The Ingebrigtsen brothers, including Jakob Ingebrigtsen, have demonstrated remarkable success in the world of endurance sports, leading many to take an interest in their training methods. A key aspect of their training is the Norwegian Double Threshold system, which involves pushing an athlete’s anaerobic threshold through controlled intervals and focusing on lactate levels.

Marius Bakken

Marius Bakken is another notable Norwegian athlete who has adopted the double threshold approach. He advocates for lowering lactate levels below the standard 4.0 mmol/l during training sessions (typically between 2.3 and 3.0 mmol/l). This approach allows for increased amounts of threshold training without excessive strain on the athlete’s body.

Renato Canova

Renowned coach Renato Canova has been incorporating the principles of the Norwegian approach into his own training philosophy. He has focused on lactate threshold for decades, using controlled intervals to improve an athlete’s endurance.

Peter Coe

British coach Peter Coe was among the first to emphasize the importance of lactate threshold in endurance training, but his methods differ from the modern Norwegian model. Coe’s training approach focuses on shorter, faster repetitions with longer rest periods between sets. This contrast with the double threshold system can offer insights into how different methodologies impact the performance of endurance athletes.

Incorporating the Norwegian Double Threshold system has provided significant benefits to athletes such as the Ingebrigtsen brothers, Marius Bakken, Kristian Blummenfelt, and Gustav Iden. By understanding the principles and methods behind this training approach, we can gain valuable insights that may contribute to the success of endurance athletes worldwide.

Polarized and Pyramidal Training

In this section, we will discuss two distinct training models that are often compared to the Norwegian double threshold approach – Polarized training and Pyramidal training. Both of these models have their unique characteristics and benefits, but also differ from the double threshold concept in several ways.

Polarized Training

Polarized training is a popular method in endurance sports where athletes divide their training into three distinct zones: low, medium, and high intensity. The majority of training time, around 80%, is spent in the low-intensity zone, while only 20% is dedicated to high-intensity workouts. This style of training focuses on maximizing aerobic capacity and developing a strong base, while also providing targeted high-intensity sessions for improved race performance.

Key characteristics of polarized training:

  • 80/20 ratio of low to high-intensity workouts
  • Emphasis on aerobic capacity and race-specific fitness
  • Suitable for endurance athletes seeking well-rounded performance improvements

Pyramidal Training

Pyramidal training, similar to polarized training, also involves three intensity zones, but with a different distribution of training time. In this approach, volume is highest in the low-intensity zone, forming the base of the pyramid, and gradually decreases as intensity increases. This results in a more even distribution of training time among the three intensity zones. The pyramidal approach aims to develop overall fitness and cater to different phases of the training season.

Key characteristics of pyramidal training:

  • Gradual decrease of training volume with increased intensity
  • Focus on overall fitness development
  • Adaptability to different periods of the training season

While both polarized and pyramidal training models have their merits, the Norwegian double threshold method is distinct in its utilization of two threshold sessions a day, with each session targeting a specific lactate level. This approach allows for greater volume at threshold pace, without causing excessive fatigue or reducing recovery capacity.

Testing and Monitoring

Incorporating Norwegian double threshold training into our routine requires careful monitoring to ensure we’re hitting the right intensity levels and getting the most out of our workouts. This training method involves performing two separate runs in a day, with both runs focusing on lactate threshold intensity. An example of a double threshold training day could be: 5x2000m @ Threshold in the morning, and 10x1000m @ Threshold in the evening (source).

To effectively implement this training strategy, we need to establish our individual lactate thresholds. This can be done through a lactate test, designed to measure lactate levels as intensity ramps up during the test. The test will help us determine our Lactate Threshold 1 (LT1) and Lactate Threshold 2 (LT2). LT1 is the first point at which lactate levels begin to rise from baseline, while LT2 is the second point where the lactate curve sharply increases, indicating the body can no longer keep up with clearing lactate (source).

By understanding our lactate thresholds, we can better structure our double threshold workouts with the appropriate intensity. It’s important to regularly test and reassess our thresholds to track improvements and adjust training accordingly. Monitoring our progress and adapting workouts based on changing thresholds will ensure we maximize the benefits of this training method.

To track our progress during double threshold workouts, we can use wearable technology or training apps that monitor our heart rate, pace, and distance. Technology like GPS watches can provide real-time feedback, allowing us to maintain proper pacing. Combining this technology with our knowledge of our lactate thresholds will enable us to effectively execute double threshold workouts and gauge workout success.

In summary, testing and monitoring are crucial aspects of incorporating Norwegian double threshold training into our regimes. By understanding our lactate thresholds and using our results to structure workouts, we can optimize the benefits of this method and make adjustments as we progress. Stay persistent, and remember that consistent monitoring and assessment are key to success in this training method.

Threshold Training for Endurance Athletes

We’ve all heard that increasing endurance is vital for athletes, especially triathletes and long-distance runners. The Norwegian Double Threshold method is a highly effective training approach for improving an athlete’s anaerobic threshold, which in turn increases their overall endurance capabilities.

In this method, workouts at or near an individual’s anaerobic threshold intensity are performed. Anaerobic threshold refers to the point at which the body starts producing lactate faster than it can be cleared, leading to fatigue. By training near this intensity, athletes can increase their ability to maintain higher speeds for more extended periods without fatiguing.

One unique aspect of the Norwegian Double Threshold approach is the double threshold workouts. These workouts involve two threshold sessions in a single day, allowing athletes to accumulate more time at their threshold intensity. This higher volume of threshold training has been shown to effectively improve endurance performance.

Endurance athletes looking to implement the Norwegian Double Threshold method should consider the following points:

  • Warm up thoroughly before starting any threshold workouts.
  • Monitor heart rate or perceive effort to ensure you’re training at the correct intensity.
  • Schedule double threshold days with sufficient recovery between sessions.
  • Combine this approach with other endurance training elements, such as long, slow distance runs or rides, and strength training.

The Norwegian Double Threshold method has been adopted by elite and amateur athletes alike for improving their endurance performance. By incorporating these workouts into your training routine, you can not only increase your anaerobic threshold but also your ability to perform at your best in endurance events.

Additional Aspects

AM and PM Training

In the Norwegian Double Threshold system, we typically structure our training sessions into two parts: one in the morning (AM) and another one in the evening (PM). This approach allows us to target different aspects of our fitness and recovery throughout the day. For example, a typical day of Double Threshold training could consist of 5x2000m @ Threshold in the morning, followed by 10x1000m @ Threshold or 25x400m @ Threshold in the evening. By dividing our workouts this way, we can effectively push our anaerobic threshold as high as possible, which is a key aspect of this training method, as can be seen in the main principles of the system.

Here are some benefits of this approach:

  • Allows for better recovery between sessions
  • Enables us to target different energy systems and intensities
  • Helps improve overall performance and endurance

Strength Training

While the focus of the Norwegian Double Threshold system is primarily on anaerobic threshold workouts, incorporating strength training into our overall program is essential for improving our running strength and efficiency. By integrating strength exercises, we can build a well-rounded training plan that addresses muscular imbalances, promotes injury prevention, and enhances overall running performance.

It is crucial, however, to properly balance our threshold workouts with the intensity and volume of our strength training sessions. Ensuring that our muscles have the appropriate amount of recovery is vital in preventing overtraining or burnout.

To summarize, we should aim to include the following elements in our strength training:

  • Core strengthening exercises
  • Plyometrics and explosive movements
  • Resistance training using bodyweight or weights
  • Functional mobility and flexibility exercises

By incorporating these components into our Norwegian Double Threshold training program, we can optimize our performance and push our boundaries in both endurance and strength.

Social Media and Community

In recent years the Norwegian double threshold training system has gained popularity, with athletes and coaches discussing its merits on various platforms. As a result, new generations of runners have started exploring its potential to help them reach their highest capacity.

Platforms like Strava have played a significant role in fostering communities and conversations around the double threshold system. On Strava, many runners share their workouts, training plans, and successes using this training approach, creating an environment to learn from one another and adapt their own practices accordingly.

Social media, too, has made it easier for athletes to connect and share their experiences. By doing so, they are able to increase awareness of the Norwegian double threshold method and facilitate conversations among not just elite runners, but also club and amateur runners.

Runners who are part of the Outside+ app can access additional resources to grow their knowledge, like educational content and networking with other members online. The app’s community acts as a significant support system for newcomers interested in trying the double threshold training method.

In summary, platforms like Strava, social media, and the Outside+ app provide valuable resources for runners to engage in conversations on the Norwegian double threshold system. By leveraging these platforms, the community surrounding this training method continues to grow, empowering athletes to reach their performance goals and build connections with like-minded individuals.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does double threshold training improve endurance?

Double threshold training is an effective way to enhance endurance performance by focusing on two key lactate levels that improve both aerobic and anaerobic capacities. By training at these specific intensity levels, we’re able to sustain higher paces without as much fatigue, ultimately leading to better performance in long-distance events.

What are the key components of the Norwegian training method?

The Norwegian training method revolves around the concept of double threshold training, which involves working at two specific lactate levels, usually around 2.3 to 3.0 mmol/l and close to 4.0 mmol/l. This approach allows us to accumulate a significant amount of work at these intensities without overloading our bodies, thus optimizing endurance adaptations.

How can the double threshold training plan be adapted for cycling?

To adapt the double threshold training plan for cycling, we need to perform cycling workouts at the two specific lactate levels identified in the Norwegian method. These workouts may include intervals to target anaerobic capacity, as well as longer, steady-state efforts targeting aerobic capacity. Combining these workouts within a structured training plan can help cyclists optimize their endurance performance.

Is the double threshold method suitable for running?

Yes, the double threshold method is applicable and effective for running. By incorporating workouts targeting both lactate thresholds into a running training plan, we can improve our aerobic and anaerobic capacities, leading to faster race times and enhanced endurance. This method has been successfully used by professional runners and is an adaptable approach for various running distances.

How does the 10-day training cycle fit into the Norwegian approach?

The 10-day training cycle is an aspect of the Norwegian training approach that focuses on consistency and sustainability. Instead of traditional 7-day training cycles, this method allows us to spread workouts across 10 days, providing adequate recovery and ensuring that we consistently hit the desired intensities. This can prevent burnout and improve long-term endurance adaptations.

What are the benefits of using Norwegian threshold training systems?

Utilizing Norwegian threshold training systems has several benefits, including improved endurance, increased pace sustainability, and tailored intensity workouts. By focusing on specific lactate thresholds, we can optimize our body’s capacity to perform at these intensities, leading to better performance in longer events and improved overall endurance. Additionally, the 10-day training cycle provides a sustainable approach that promotes long-term success and development.

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