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Criterion and Longitudinal Validity of a Fixed-Distance Incremental Running Test for the Determination of Lactate Thresholds in Field Settings

Torre, Antonio La1,2; Fiorella, Pierluigi2,3; Santos, Tony M4; Faina, Marcello3; Mauri, Clara3; Impellizzeri, Franco M5,6

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research:
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31821bc313
Original Research

La Torre, A, Fiorella, P, Santos, TM, Marcello, F, Mauri, C, and Impellizzeri, FM. Criterion and longitudinal validity of a fixed-distance incremental running test for the determination of lactate thresholds in field setting. J Strength Cond Res 26(1): 146–151, 2012—The aim of this study was to examine the criterion validity of 2 lactate thresholds (LTs, intensity corresponding to 1 mmol·L−1 above baseline; onset of blood lactate accumulation, intensity at 4 mmol·L−1) determined with a fixed-distance incremental field test by assessing their correlation with those obtained using a traditional fixed-time laboratory protocol. A second aim was to verify the longitudinal validity by examining the relationships between the changes in LTs obtained with the 2 protocols. To determine the LTs, 12 well-trained male middle and long distance amateur and competitive runners training from 4 to 7 d·wk−1 (age 25 [5] years, body mass 66 [5] kg, estimated V̇O2max 58.6 [4.9] ml·min−1·kg−1, SD in parentheses) performed in 2 separate sessions an incremental running test on the field starting at 12 km·h−1 and increasing the speed by 1 km·h−1 every 1,200 m (FixD test) and an incremental treadmill test in the laboratory starting at 12 km·h−1 and increasing the speed by 1 km·h−1 every 6 minutes. The 2 tests were repeated after 6–12 weeks. A nearly perfect relationship was found between the running speeds at LTs determined with the 2 protocols (r = 0.95 [CI95% 0.83–0.99]; p < 0.001). The correlations between longitudinal changes in LTs were very large (0.78 [0.32–0.95; p = 0.006]). The heart rate corresponding to the LTs were not significantly different. This study showed the criterion and longitudinal validity of LTs determined with a protocol consisting of fixed-distance intervals performed in field setting.

Author Information

1Faculty of Motor Sciences, University of Milan, Italy; 2Italian Track and Field Federation, Rome, Italy; 3Institute of Science and Medicine in Sport, Italian Olympic Committee, Rome, Italy; 4Department of Physical Education, University of Gama Filho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; 5CeRiSM, Research Center “Sport, Mountain and Health”, University of Verona, Rovereto (TN), Italy; and 6Neuromuscular Research Laboratory, Schulthess Clinic, Zurich, Switzerland

Address correspondence to Dr. Franco M. Impellizzeri,

© 2012 National Strength and Conditioning Association