Eight men were studied before and after a 12-wk exercise program to determine the effect of training on blood lactate levels during submaximal exercise. The training elicited a 26% increase in maximum O2 uptake (VO2max). Lactate concentrations at the same relative exercise intensities in the 55–75% of VO2max range were significantly lower after training. A significantly higher relative exercise intensity was needed to elicit a given lactate level in the 1.5- to 3.0-mM range after training. O2 uptake at the work rate required to raise blood lactate to 2.5 mM was 39% higher after training. A blood lactate of 2.5 mM was attained at 68 +/- 4% VO2max before and 75 +/- 3% of VO2max after training. Eight competitive runners required an even higher relative work rate (83 +/- 2% of VO2max) to attain a blood lactate of 2.5 mM. These data provide evidence that the adaptations to training that result in an increase in VO2max are, to some degree, independent of those responsible for the lower blood lactate levels during submaximal exercise.