To examine the training and concomitant changes in laboratory- and field-test performance of highly trained endurance runners.
Fourteen highly trained male endurance runners (mean ± SD maximal oxygen uptake [VO2max] 69.8 ± 6.3 mL · kg−1 · min−1) completed this 1-y training study commencing in April. During the study the runners undertook 5 laboratory tests of VO2max, lactate threshold (LT), and running economy and 9 field tests to determine critical speed (CS) and the modeled maximum distance performed above CS (D′). The data for different periods of the year were compared using repeated-measures ANOVA. The influence of training on laboratory- and field-test changes was analyzed by multiple regression.
Total training distance varied during the year and was lower in May–July (333 ± 206 km, P = .01) and July–August (339 ± 206 km, P = .02) than in the subsequent January–February period (474 ± 188 km). VO2max increased from the April baseline (4.7 ± 0.4 L/min) in October and January periods (5.0 ± 0.4 L/min, P ≤ .01). Other laboratory measures did not change. Runners’ CS was lowest in August (4.90 ± 0.32 m/s) and highest in February (4.99 ± 0.30 m/s, P = .02). Total training distance and the percentage of training time spent above LT velocity explained 33% of the variation in CS.
Highly trained endurance runners achieve small but significant changes in VO2max and CS in a year. Increases in training distance and time above LT velocity were related to increases in CS.
Galbraith, Hopker, and Passfield are with the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Kent, Chatham Maritime, UK. Cardinale is with Aspire Academy, Doha, Qatar. Cunniffe is with the Dept of Computer Science, University College London, London, UK. Address author correspondence to Andy Galbraith at A.Galbraith@kent.ac.uk.