We compared time to exhaustion (tlim) at maximal lactate steady state (MLSS) between cycling and running, investigated if oxygen consumption, ventilation, blood lactate concentration, and perceived exertion differ between the exercise modes, and established whether MLSS can be determined for cycling and running using the same criteria. MLSS was determined in 15 moderately trained men (30 ± 6 years, 77 ± 6 kg) by several constant-load tests to exhaustion in cycling and running. Heart rate, oxygen consumption, and ventilation were recorded continuously. Blood lactate concentration and perceived exertion were measured every 5 min. tlim (37.7 ± 8.9 vs. 34.4 ± 5.4 min) and perceived exertion (7.2 ± 1.7 vs. 7.2 ± 1.5) were similar for cycling and running. Heart rate (165 ± 8 vs. 175 ± 10 min−1; P < 0.01), oxygen consumption (3.1 ± 0.3 vs. 3.4 ± 0.3 l min−1; P < 0.001) and ventilation (93 ± 12 vs. 103 ± 16 l min−1; P < 0.01) were lower for cycling compared to running, respectively, whereas blood lactate concentration (5.6 ± 1.7 vs. 4.3 ± 1.3 mmol l−1; P < 0.05) was higher for cycling. tlim at MLSS is similar for cycling and running, despite absolute differences in heart rate, ventilation, blood lactate concentration, and oxygen consumption. This may be explained by the relatively equal cardiorespiratory demand at MLSS. Additionally, the similar tlim for cycling and running allows the same criteria to be used for determining MLSS in both exercise modes.
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