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Determinants of 800-m and 1500-m Running Performance Using Allometric Models

INGHAM, STEPHEN A.1; WHYTE, GREGORY P.2; PEDLAR, CHARLES3; BAILEY, DAVID M.1; DUNMAN, NATALIE3; NEVILL, ALAN M.4

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: February 2008 - Volume 40 - Issue 2 - pp 345-350
doi: 10.1249/mss.0b013e31815a83dc
APPLIED SCIENCES: Physical Fitness and Performance

Purpose: To identify the optimal aerobic determinants of elite, middle-distance running (MDR) performance, using proportional allometric models.

Methods: Sixty-two national and international male and female 800-m and 1500-m runners undertook an incremental exercise test to volitional exhaustion. Mean submaximal running economy (ECON), speed at lactate threshold (speedLT), maximum oxygen uptake (V˙O2max), and speed associated with V˙O2max (speedV˙O2max) were paired with best performance times recorded within 30 d. The data were analyzed using a proportional power-function ANCOVA model.

Results: The analysis identified significant differences in running speeds with main effects for sex and distance, with V˙O2max and ECON as the covariate predictors (P < 0.0001). The results suggest a proportional curvilinear association between running speed and the ratio (V˙O2max·ECON−0.71)0.35 explaining 95.9% of the variance in performance. The model was cross-validated with a further group of highly trained MDR, demonstrating strong agreement (95% limits, 0.05 ± 0.29 m·s−1) between predicted and actual performance speeds (R 2 = 93.6%). The model indicates that for a male 1500-m runner with a V˙O2max of 3.81 L·min−1 and ECON of 15 L·km−1 to improve from 250 to 240 s, it would require a change in V˙O2max from 3.81 to 4.28 L·min−1, an increase of Δ0.47 L·min−1. However, improving by the same margin of 10 s from 225 to 215 s would require a much greater increase in V˙O2max, from 5.14 to 5.85 L·min−1 an increase of Δ0.71 L·min−1 (where ECON remains constant).

Conclusion: A proportional curvilinear ratio of V˙O2max divided by ECON explains 95.9% of the variance in MDR performance.

1English Institute of Sport, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, UNITED KINGDOM; 2Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Science, Liverpool John Moores University, Henry Cotton Campus, Truman Road, Liverpool, UNITED KINGDOM; 3English Institute of Sport, St. Mary's College, Twickenham, UNITED KINGDOM; and 4Department of Sports Studies, University of Wolverhampton, Walsall Campus, Walsall, UNITED KINGDOM

Address for correspondence: Stephen A. Ingham, Ph.D., English Institute of Sport, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, United Kingdom; E-mail: E.steve.ingham@eis2win.co.uk.

Submitted for publication May 2007.

Accepted for publication August 2007.

©2008The American College of Sports Medicine