The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between various lactate-threshold (LT) definitions and the average running velocity during a 10-km and a 21.1-km time trial (TT).
Thirteen well-trained runners completed an incremental maximal exercise test, a 10-km TT, and a 21.1-km TT on a motorized treadmill. Blood samples were collected through a venous catheter placed in an antecubital vein. Pearson's correlation coefficients were used to determine the relationship between the running velocity at the different LT definitions and the average running velocity during each TT. A dependent t test was used to determine statistical differences for the mean lactate response between the 2 running distances.
The LTDmax, the point on the regression curve that yielded the maximal perpendicular distance to the straight line formed by the 2 endpoints, was the LT definition with the highest correlation for both 10-km (r = .844) and 21.1-km TTs (r = .783). The velocity at the LTDmax was not, however, the velocity closest to the performance velocity for either distance. The mean running velocity at each LT was significantly different and tended to overestimate the mean TT performance velocities. The mean lactate concentration during the 10-km TT (3.52 ± 1.58 mmol) was significantly higher than during the 21.1-km TT (1.86 ± 0.90 mmol).
These results indicate that a single LT point cannot be reliably associated with different running distances. Furthermore, these data suggest that a different methodology for estimating the LT that considers individual responses might be required for different running distances.