Improvement of 800-m Running Performance With Prior High-Intensity Exercise

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Prior high-intensity exercise increases the oxidative energy contribution to subsequent exercise and may enhance exercise tolerance. The potential impact of a high-intensity warm-up on competitive performance, however, has not been investigated.


To test the hypothesis that a high-intensity warm-up would speed VO2 kinetics and enhance 800-m running performance in well-trained athletes.


Eleven highly trained middle-distance runners completed two 800-m time trials on separate days on an indoor track, preceded by 2 different warm-up procedures. The 800-m time trials were preceded by a 10-min self-paced jog and standardized mobility drills, followed by either 6 × 50-m strides (control [CON]) or 2 × 50-m strides and a continuous high-intensity 200-m run (HWU) at race pace. Blood [La] was measured before the time trials, and VO2 was measured breath by breath throughout exercise.


800-m time-trial performance was significantly faster after HWU (124.5 ± 8.3 vs CON, 125.7 ± 8.7 s, P < .05). Blood [La] was greater after HWU (3.6 ± 1.9 vs CON, 1.7 ± 0.8 mM; P < .01). The mean response time for VO2 was not different between conditions (HWU, 27 ± 6 vs CON, 28 ± 7 s), but total O2 consumed (HWU, 119 ± 18 vs CON, 109 ± 28 ml/kg, P = .05) and peak VO2 attained (HWU, 4.21 ± 0.85 vs CON, 3.91 ± 0.63 L/min; P = .08) tended to be greater after HWU.


These data indicate that a sustained high-intensity warm-up enhances 800-m time-trial performance in trained athletes.

Ingham, Fudge, and Pringle are with the English Institute of Sport, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK. Jones is with Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK.