Dynamics of the power-duration relationship during prolonged endurance exercise and influence of carbohydrate ingestion

We tested the hypotheses that the parameters of the power-duration relationship, estimated as the end-test power (EP) and work done above EP (WEP) during a 3-min all-out exercise test (3MT), would be reduced progressively after 40 min, 80 min, and 2 h of heavy-intensity cycling and that carbohydrate (CHO) ingestion would attenuate the reduction in EP and WEP. Sixteen participants completed a 3MT without prior exercise (control), immediately after 40 min, 80 min, and 2 h of heavy-intensity exercise while consuming a placebo beverage, and also after 2 h of heavy-intensity exercise while consuming a CHO supplement (60 g/h CHO). There was no difference in EP measured without prior exercise (260 ± 37 W) compared with EP after 40 min (268 ± 39 W) or 80 min (260 ± 40 W) of heavy-intensity exercise; however, after 2 h EP was 9% lower compared with control (236 ± 47 W; P < 0.05). There was no difference in WEP measured without prior exercise (17.9 ± 3.3 kJ) compared with after 40 min of heavy-intensity exercise (16.1 ± 3.3 kJ), but WEP was lower (P < 0.05) than control after 80 min (14.7 ± 2.9 kJ) and 2 h (13.8 ± 2.7 kJ). Compared with placebo, CHO ingestion negated the reduction of EP following 2 h of heavy-intensity exercise (254 ± 49 W) but had no effect on WEP (13.5 ± 3.4 kJ). These results reveal a different time course for the deterioration of EP and WEP during prolonged endurance exercise and indicate that EP is sensitive to CHO availability.