Maximum aerobic power (VO2 max), maximum anaerobic power (AP max), submaximal exercise heart rate (HRsub), and performance times for distances of 15m, 600 m, 3.22 km, and 10 km were evaluated in 12 male runners prior to and after 7 weeks of a running programme at each individual's maximum steady-state (MSS) pace. MSS pace, a running speed at which blood lactate is believed to equal 2.2 mmol . l-1, was calculated from weekly 3.22 km runs utilising the regression equation of LaFontaine et al (1981). During the training period, the mean MSS pace increased 11.3% from 3.76 to 4.19 m.s.-1. Body weight and maximal exercise heart rate were unaffected by MSS training. However, MSS training was associated with increases (p less than 0.05) in absolute VO2 max (8.9%) and VO2 max relative to body weight (8.1%), absolute AP max (3.7%) and AP max, relative to body weight (4.3%); decreases in resting HR (5.4%) and HRsub (6.9%); and decreases in performance times for runs of 15m (1.8%), 600 m (4.4%), 3.22 km (9.6%), and 10 km (12.1%). MSS paces determined prior to the pre- and post-training 10 km races were significantly related to the pre-training (r = 0.98) and post-training 10 km (r = 0.95) performance paces. Pretraining MSS pace, maximal aerobic power, and performance times for the 3.22 km and 10 km distances were highly related to improvements in MSS pace and performance times for the 3.22 km and 10 km runs. Our findings indicate that training at MSS pace is an effective method to increase maximal aerobic and anaerobic power, and decrease performance times for short- and middle-distance running events. Pre-training running performance may predict the magnitude of improvement due to MSS pace training.
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