Article

A New Short Track Test to Estimate the VO2max and Maximal Aerobic Speed in Well-Trained Runners

Abstract

This study was designed to validate a new short track test (Track(1:1)) to estimate running performance parameters maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) and maximal aerobic speed (MAS), based on a laboratory treadmill protocol and gas exchange data analysis (Lab(1:1)). In addition, we compared the results with the University of Montreal Track Test (UMTT). Twenty-two well-trained male athletes (VO2max 60.3 ± 5.9 ml·kg−1·min−1; MAS ranged from 17.0 to 20.3 km·h−1) performed 4 testing protocols: 2 in laboratory (Lab(1:1)-pre and Lab(1:1)) and 2 in the field (UMTT and Track(1:1)). The Lab(1:1)-pre was designed to determine individuals' Vpeak and set initial speeds for the subsequent Lab(1:1) short ramp graded exercise testing protocol, starting at 13 km·h−1 less than each athlete's Vpeak, with 1 km·h−1 increments per minute until exhaustion. The Track(1:1) was a reproduction of the Lab(1:1) protocol in the field. A novel equation was yielded to estimate the VO2max from the Vpeak achieved in the Track(1:1). Results revealed that the UMTT significantly underestimated the Vpeak (−4.2%; bias = −0.8 km·h−1; p < 0.05), which notably altered the estimations (MAS: −2.6%, bias = −0.5 km·h−1; VO2max: 4.7%, bias = 2.9 ml·kg−1·min−1). In turn, data from Track(1:1) were very similar to the laboratory test and gas exchange methods (Vpeak: −0.6%, bias = <0.1 km·h−1; MAS: 0.3%, bias = <0.1 km·h−1; VO2max: 0.4%, bias = 0.2 ml·kg−1·min−1, p > 0.05). Thus, the current Track(1:1) test emerges as a better alternative than the UMTT to estimate maximal running performance parameters in well-trained and highly trained athletes on the field.
Original Research
A New Short Track Test to Estimate the V
̇
O
2
max and
Maximal Aerobic Speed in Well-Trained Runners
Jes ´us G. Pallar ´es, V´
ıctor Cerezuela-Espejo, Ricardo Mor ´an-Navarro, Alejandro Mart´
ınez-Cava,
Elena Conesa, and Javier Courel-Ib ´an
˜ez
Human Performance and Sports Science Laboratory, Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Murcia, Spain
Abstract
Pallar ´es, JG, Cerezuela-Espejo, V, Mor ´an-Navarro, R, Mart´
ınez-Cava, A, Conesa, E, and Courel-Ib ´an
˜ez, J. A new short track test to
estimate the V
̇
O2max and maximal aerobic speed in well-trained runners. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000–000, 2019—This study
was designed to validate a new short track test (Track
(1:1)
) to estimate running performance parameters maximal oxygen uptake
(V
̇
O
2
max) and maximal aerobic speed (MAS), based on a laboratory treadmill protocol and gas exchange data analysis (Lab
(1:1)
). In
addition, we compared the results with the University of Montreal Track Test (UMTT). Twenty-two well-trained male athletes
(V
̇
O
2
max 60.3 65.9 ml·kg
21
·min
21
; MAS ranged from 17.0 to 20.3 km·h
21
) performed 4 testing protocols: 2 in laboratory (Lab
(1:1)-
pre
and Lab
(1:1)
) and 2 in the field (UMTT and Track
(1:1)
). The Lab
(1:1)-pre
was designed to determine individuals’ Vpeak and set initial
speeds for the subsequent Lab
(1:1)
short ramp graded exercise testing protocol, starting at 13 km·h
21
less than each athlete’s
Vpeak, with 1 km·h
21
increments per minute until exhaustion. The Track
(1:1)
was a reproduction of the Lab
(1:1)
protocol in the field. A
novel equation was yielded to estimate the V
̇
O
2
max from the Vpeak achieved in the Track
(1:1)
. Results revealed that the UMTT
significantly underestimated the Vpeak (24.2%; bias 520.8 km·h
21
;p,0.05), which notably altered the estimations (MAS: 2
2.6%, bias 520.5 km·h
21
;V
̇
O
2
max: 4.7%, bias 52.9 ml·kg
21
·min
21
). In turn, data from Track
(1:1)
were very similar to the
laboratory test and gas exchange methods (Vpeak: 20.6%, bias 5,0.1 km·h
21
; MAS: 0.3%, bias 5,0.1 km·h
21
;V
̇
O
2
max:
0.4%, bias 50.2 ml·kg
21
·min
21
,p.0.05). Thus, the current Track
(1:1)
test emerges as a better alternative than the UMTT to
estimate maximal running performance parameters in well-trained and highly trained athletes on the field.
Key Words: testing protocol, validity, running testing, evaluation, noninvasive methods
Introduction
Endurance training based on individual physiological events is
effective to enhance training responsiveness and maximize car-
diorespiratory, neuromuscular, and functional adaptations (40).
This training method requires determining individualized in-
tensities corresponding to physiological milestones, such as the
maximal oxygen uptake (V
̇
O
2
max) and the lactate/aerobic-
anaerobic thresholds (13,16,34,36,37). An accurate identifica-
tion of these individual milestones will depend on the testing
procedures (4,18,19). Therefore, variations in the testing protocol
configuration (e.g., warm-up, workload increments, and total test
duration) are decisive in the assessment of endurance perfor-
mance (11,33).
It is well known that graded exercise testing (GXT), using
metabolic systems under laboratory conditions, is the most ac-
curate method to assess physiological responses to exercise in
endurance sports (3). In particular, ramp protocols, in which the
speed increases in a continuous fashion rather than in bouts
(e.g., multistage protocols), are especially recommended for
maximal cardiovascular testing and predicting the metabolic
cost at individual workload (31,32). Numerous studies confirm
that short ramp GXT, lasting 1014 minutes, are the most ap-
propriate assessment to identify individual physiological events
in cyclists (14,24,25,28,33) and runners (11,31,32). The main
reason for this choice is that longer protocols (lasting 2030
minutes) or multistage tests (i.e., speed increments every 23
minutes) would prevent athletes from achieving their maximal
potential because of accumulative fatigue, dehydration, muscle
acidosis, and cardiovascular drift (4,18,32). However, the use of
laboratory testing procedures is limited by the requirement of
sophisticated equipment that most coaches and athletes are not
equipped with or cannot afford. Furthermore, treadmill testing
with a metabolic cart is impractical for routine athlete assess-
ment and load adjustment compared with field-based and out-
door assessment using portable technologies. Unfortunately, the
technology available for quantifying and monitoring running
performance in outdoor conditions such as running power
output is still limited (2). Thus, indirect estimations from track
tests are, to date, the best alternative for determining individual
training intensities in running, when laboratory equipment is
not available.
There are 2 main running intensities that coaches can analyze
using track tests: the peak velocity (Vpeak) and the maximal
aerobic speed (MAS). The Vpeak is the highest speed attained
during a test, whereas the MAS is the lowest speed that elicits the
V
̇
O
2
max (20). The MAS is a reference value to determine training
intensity and workload distribution in endurance sports based on
the aerobic performance limits (39). Given the similarity between
Vpeak and MAS intensities (11), running track tests use the
Vpeak to estimate the V
̇
O
2
max and the corresponding MAS
(5,6,21), if no metabolic system is available. Hence, bringing
athletes to their maximal aerobic performance (i.e., V
̇
O
2
max) is
an essential requirement when designing running track tests to
measure athletesendurance performance in the field (18).
Address correspondence to Dr. Jes ´us G. Pallar ´es, jgpallares@um.es.
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 00(00)/1–6
ª2019 National Strength and Conditioning Association
1
Copyright © 2019 National Strength and Conditioning Association. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.
... Although these variables are generally determined in laboratories under controlled conditions [3,4], the applicability of the results in daily practice conditions is still questionable [5]. Therefore, it is more practical and ecological to determine the variables in an environment directly related to training practice using track field tests [5,6]. ...
... Previous studies have compared variables commonly used for endurance training prescription and monitoring (i.e., maximum aerobic speed-MAS, V peak ) which were determined during maximum incremental running tests performed on the treadmill and track field [6,17,18]. However, it should be noted that the studies mentioned above used different designs. ...
... The results showed that V peak_TF was significantly lower compared to V peak_T . As demonstrated in the present study, some researchers compared incremental tests performed on the treadmill and track field and observed higher values for the variables (e.g., MAS and V peak ) determined on the treadmill [6,17,18]. Simillarly, Pallares et al. [6] showed that V peak and MAS obtained on the treadmill test (increments of 1 km�h -1 every 1-min) were similar when compared to the values measured in a new short track test (same treadmill protocol) performed in the field. Metsios et al. [18] observed that the MAS determined during the treadmill test (increments of 1 km�h -1 every 2-min) was overestimated by 8% when compared with the track field test (increments of 0.5 km�h -1 every 1-min), which is very similar to the present investigation (ffi 6%). ...
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Graded exercise testing (GXT) is the most widely used assessment to examine the dynamic relationship between exercise and integrated physiological systems. The information from GXT can be applied across the spectrum of sport performance, occupational safety screening, research, and clinical diagnostics. The suitability of GXT to determine a valid maximal oxygen consumption (VO 2 max) has been under investigation for decades. Although a set of recommended criteria exists to verify attainment of VO 2 max, the methods that originally established these criteria have been scrutinized. Many studies do not apply identical criteria or fail to consider individual variability in physiological responses. As an alternative to using traditional criteria, recent research efforts have been directed toward using a supramaximal verification protocol performed after a GXT to confirm attainment of VO 2 max. Furthermore, the emergence of self-paced protocols has provided a simple, yet reliable approach to designing and administering GXT. In order to develop a standardized GXT protocol, additional research should further examine the utility of self-paced protocols used in conjunction with verification protocols to elicit and confirm attainment of VO 2 max.
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Purpose The purpose of this study was to determine, i) the reliability of blood lactate and ventilatory-based thresholds, ii) the lactate threshold that corresponds with each ventilatory threshold (VT1 and VT2) and with maximal lactate steady state test (MLSS) as a proxy of cycling performance. Methods Fourteen aerobically-trained male cyclists (V˙O2max 62.1±4.6 ml·kg⁻¹·min⁻¹) performed two graded exercise tests (50 W warm-up followed by 25 W·min⁻¹) to exhaustion. Blood lactate, V˙O2 and V˙CO2 data were collected at every stage. Workloads at VT1 (rise in V˙E/V˙O2;) and VT2 (rise in V˙E/V˙CO2) were compared with workloads at lactate thresholds. Several continuous tests were needed to detect the MLSS workload. Agreement and differences among tests were assessed with ANOVA, ICC and Bland-Altman. Reliability of each test was evaluated using ICC, CV and Bland-Altman plots. Results Workloads at lactate threshold (LT) and LT+2.0 mMol·L⁻¹ matched the ones for VT1 and VT2, respectively (p = 0.147 and 0.539; r = 0.72 and 0.80; Bias = -13.6 and 2.8, respectively). Furthermore, workload at LT+0.5 mMol·L⁻¹ coincided with MLSS workload (p = 0.449; r = 0.78; Bias = -4.5). Lactate threshold tests had high reliability (CV = 3.4–3.7%; r = 0.85–0.89; Bias = -2.1–3.0) except for DMAX method (CV = 10.3%; r = 0.57; Bias = 15.4). Ventilatory thresholds show high reliability (CV = 1.6%–3.5%; r = 0.90–0.96; Bias = -1.8–2.9) except for RER = 1 and V-Slope (CV = 5.0–6.4%; r = 0.79; Bias = -5.6–12.4). Conclusions Lactate threshold tests can be a valid and reliable alternative to ventilatory thresholds to identify the workloads at the transition from aerobic to anaerobic metabolism.
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