Maximal oxygen deficit of sprint and middle distance runners

  • Hanne Lis Olesen
  • Egil Raabo
  • Jens Bangsbo
  • Niels H. Secher
Original Articles


Anaerobic energy capacity was evaluated by maximal oxygen deficit (MOD) as well as by blood gas and muscle biopsy variables during short exhausting running in six recreational (RR) and eight competitive sprint and middle distance runners (SMDR). On 3 days runs to exhaustion were executed. Two runs were performed at a treadmill gradient of 15% at speeds which resulted in exhaustion after approximately 1 (R15%, 1min) and 2–3 min (R15%, 2–3min), respectively. On the 3rd day, the subjects ran with the treadmill at a gradient of 1% at a speed which caused exhaustion after 2–3 min (R1%, 2–3min). The runner performance was assessed from 400 m [RR, median 64.8 (range 62.2–69.6) s; SMDR, median 49.4 (range 48.5–52.0) s] and 800 m [RR, median 158.8 (range 153.3–170.2) s; SMDR, median 115.2 (range 113.3–123.3) s] track times. Muscle biopsies from gastrocnemius muscle were obtained before and immediately after R15%, 2–3min, from which muscle lactate and creatine phosphate (CP) concentrations, fibre type distribution, capillaries per fibre, total lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity and the LDH isoenzyme pattern were determined. The MOD increased with the treadmill gradient and duration. During both treadmill and track runs, SMDR performance was superior to that of RR, but no significant differences were observed with respect to MOD, muscle fibre type distribution, total LDH activity, its iso-enzyme pattern, changes in muscle lactate or CP concentrations. However, after treadmill runs, peak venous lactate concentration and partial pressures of carbon dioxide were higher, and pH lower in SMDR. Also the number of capillaries per muscle fibre and the maximal oxygen uptake were larger in SMDR. These findings would suggest that the superior performance of SMDR depended more on their aerobic than on their anaerobic capacity.

Key words

Anaerobic metabolism Muscle fibre types Muscle lactate dehydrogenase Muscle lactate Training 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hanne Lis Olesen
    • 1
  • Egil Raabo
    • 3
  • Jens Bangsbo
    • 2
  • Niels H. Secher
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnaesthesiaThe Copenhagen Muscle Research CentreCopenhagen ØDenmark
  2. 2.August Krogh InstituteUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  3. 3.Department of Clinical ChemistryHolbæk HospitalDenmark

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