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To compare critical speed (CS) measured from a single-visit field test of the distance–time relationship with the “traditional” treadmill time-to-exhaustion multivisit protocol.
Ten male distance runners completed treadmill and field tests to calculate CS and the maximum distance performed above CS (D′). The field test involved 3 runs on a single visit to an outdoor athletics track over 3600, 2400, and 1200 m. Two field-test protocols were evaluated using either a 30-min recovery or a 60-min recovery between runs. The treadmill test involved runs to exhaustion at 100%, 105%, and 110% of velocity at VO2max, with 24 h recovery between runs.
There was no difference in CS measured with the treadmill and 30-min- and 60-minrecovery field tests (P < .05). CS from the treadmill test was highly correlated with CS from the 30- and 60-min-recovery field tests (r = .89, r = .82; P < .05). However there was a difference and no correlation in D′ between the treadmill test and the 30 and 60-min-recovery field tests (r = .13; r = .33, P > .05). A typical error of the estimate of 0.14 m/s (95% confidence limits 0.09–0.26 m/s) was seen for CS and 88 m (95% confidence limits 60–169 m) for D′. A coefficient of variation of 0.4% (95% confidence limits: 0.3–0.8%) was found for repeat tests of CS and 13% (95% confidence limits 10–27%) for D′.
The single-visit method provides a useful alternative for assessing CS in the field.
The authors are with the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Kent, Chatham Maritime, UK. Address author correspondence to Andy Galbraith at A.Galbraith@kent.ac.uk.