Metabolic and cardioventilatory responses during a graded exercise test before and 24 h after a triathlon

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Previous studies have reported respiratory, cardiac and muscle changes at rest in triathletes 24 h after completion of the event. To examine the effects of these changes on metabolic and cardioventilatory variables during exercise, eight male triathletes of mean age 21.1 (SD 2.5) years (range 17–26 years) performed an incremental cycle exercise test (IET) before (pre) and the day after (post) an official classic triathlon (1.5-km swimming, 40-km cycling and 10-km running). The IET was performed using an electromagnetic cycle ergometer. Ventilatory data were collected every minute using a breath-by-breath automated system and included minute ventilation ( E), oxygen uptake (O2), carbon dioxide production (CO2), respiratory exchange ratio, ventilatory equivalent for oxygen ( E/O2) and for carbon dioxide ( E/CO2), breathing frequency and tidal volume. Heart rate (HR) was monitored using an electrocardiogram. The oxygen pulse was calculated as O2/HR. Arterialized blood was collected every 2 min throughout IET and the recovery period, and lactate concentration was measured using an enzymatic method. Maximal oxygen uptake (O2 max ) was determined using conventional criteria. Ventilatory threshold (VT) was determined using the V-slope method formulated earlier. Cardioventilatory variables were studied during the test, at the point when the subject felt exhausted and during recovery. Results indicated no significant differences (P>0.05) in O2 max [62.6 (SD 5.9) vs 64.6 (SD 4.8) ml · kg−1 · min−1], VT [2368 (SD 258) vs 2477 (SD 352) ml · min−1] and time courses of O2 between the pre- versus post-triathlon sessions. In contrast, the time courses of HR and blood lactate concentration reached significantly higher values (P<0.05) in the pre-triathlon session. We concluded that these triathletes when tested 24 h after a classic triathlon displayed their pre-event aerobic exercise capacity, bud did not recover pre-triathlon time courses in HR or blood lactate concentration.

Accepted: 24 July 1998