This study compared the oxygen uptake (VO2) and running velocity at which the lactate threshold (LT), the ventilatory threshold (VT), and the maximal lactate steady state (MSSLA), and the maximal VO2 steady state (MSSVO2) occurred in 11 trained male runners (mean age = 22.4 years, range 18-28 years). Each underwent an incremental treadmill test to exhaustion. The LT was defined by a systematic, continuous increase in arterialised venous blood lactate; the VT was determined by an abrupt rise in VE.VO2(-1) without an increase in VE.VCO2(-1). Each subject also completed a series of steady state treadmill runs of 20 minutes duration. The MSSLA was determined as the highest velocity and VO2 at which lactate concentration increased by less than 0.2 mmol.l-1 from minute 10 to minute 20. The MSSVO2 was determined as the highest velocity or VO2 at which a steady state in VO2 was not delayed for more than 3 minutes (with a steady state defined as VO2 within 0.2 l.min-1 of the average VO2 over the last 10 minutes of each test). Each subject also completed a 5 km time trial run to assess performance. No significant differences were found among the four variables expressed either as VO2 or velocity. Significant correlations were found between MSSLA and MSSVO2 (r = 0.74) expressed as VO2, and between MSSLA and MSSVO2 (r = 0.90), MSSVO2 and VT (r = 0.70) and MSSLA and VT (r = 0.67) expressed as velocity. A stepwise regression analysis found MSSLA (expressed as velocity) to be the best predictor of 5 km performance (r = 0.87). It was concluded that (a) MSSLA and MSSVO2 are closely related, and (b) MSSLA is a good predictor of performance and may be an important, objective measure of cardiorespiratory endurance capacity.
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