, Volume 89, Issue 3-4, pp 337-343
Date: 25 Mar 2003

Optimising high-intensity treadmill training using the running speed at maximal O2 uptake and the time for which this can be maintained

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The aim of this study was to compare the effects of two high-intensity, treadmill interval-training programs on 3000-m and 5000-m running performance. Maximal oxygen uptake (V̇O2max), the running speed associated with V̇O2max (vV̇O2max), the time for which vV̇O2max can be maintained (T max), running economy (RE), ventilatory threshold (VT) and 3000-m and 5000-m running times were determined in 27 well-trained runners. Subjects were then randomly assigned to three groups; (1) 60% T max, (2) 70% T max and (3) control. Subjects in the control group continued their normal training and subjects in the two T max groups undertook a 4-week treadmill interval-training program with the intensity set at vV̇O2max and the interval duration at the assigned T max. These subjects completed two interval-training sessions per week (60% T max=six intervals/session, 70% T max group=five intervals/session). Subjects were re-tested on all parameters at the completion of the training program. There was a significant improvement between pre- and post-training values in 3000-m time trial (TT) performance in the 60% T max group compared to the 70% T max and control groups [mean (SE); 60% T max=17.6 (3.5) s, 70% T max =6.3 (4.2) s, control=0.5 (7.7) s]. There was no significant effect of the training program on 5000-m TT performance [60% T max=25.8 (13.8) s, 70% T max=3.7 (11.6) s, control=9.9 (13.1) s]. Although there were no significant improvements in V̇O2max, vV̇O2max and RE between groups, changes in V̇O2max and RE were significantly correlated with the improvement in the 3000-m TT. Furthermore, VT and T max were significantly higher in the 60% T max group post- compared to pre-training. In conclusion, 3000-m running performance can be significantly improved in a group of well-trained runners, using a 4-week treadmill interval training program at vV̇O2max with interval durations of 60% T max.