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Quantification of aerobic determinants of performance in post-pubertal adolescent middle-distance runners

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posted on 01.07.2019, 13:45 by Richard BlagroveRichard Blagrove, Glyn Howatson, Charles R. Pedlar, Philip R. Hayes
PURPOSE: The use of oxygen cost ([Formula: see text]aero) parameters to predict endurance performance has recently been criticized. Instead, it is suggested that aerobic energy cost ([Formula: see text]) provides greater validity; however, a comparison of these quantification methods has not previously been made. METHODS: Fifty-six male (n = 34) and female (n = 22) competitive adolescent (17 ± 1 years) middle-distance runners participated in a sub-maximal and maximal incremental treadmill test. Running economy (RE) was measured at the speed corresponding to lactate turnpoint, and the three speeds prior. Maximal oxygen uptake ([Formula: see text]O2max), speed at [Formula: see text]O2max and fraction of [Formula: see text]O2max utilized across a range of intensities, and speeds from 0.8, 1.5 and 3 km races were also quantified. RE and fractional utilization were calculated in units of [Formula: see text]aero and [Formula: see text]aero. RESULTS: Multiple linear regression models demonstrated no discernible difference in the predictive capability of RE, fractional utilization and [Formula: see text]O2max when expressed as [Formula: see text]aero or [Formula: see text]aero in both sexes. When plotted as a function of running speed, [Formula: see text]aero displayed a stepwise decrease (F = 11.59, p < 0.001) whereas [Formula: see text]aero exhibited a curvilinear response (F = 4.74, p = 0.015). Differences were also evident in the slopes plotted for %[Formula: see text]O2max and %[Formula: see text]aeromax against running speed (F = 5.38, p = 0.021). CONCLUSIONS: Quantifying aerobic determinants of performance in units of [Formula: see text]aero provides no greater validity compared to [Formula: see text]aero-based measurement. Although both [Formula: see text]aero and [Formula: see text]aero are sensitive to changes in speed, [Formula: see text]aero provides the more valid reflection of the underlying metabolic cost of running. Physiologists should also be aware of the potential differences between expression of aerobic running intensity based upon %[Formula: see text]O2max compared to %[Formula: see text]aeromax



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

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European Journal of Applied Physiology








BLAGROVE, R.C. ... et al, 2019. Quantification of aerobic determinants of performance in post-pubertal adolescent middle-distance runners. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 119(8), pp. 1865–1874.


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