Incremental tests on a treadmill are used to evaluate endurance athletes; however, no criterion exists to determine the intensity at which to start the test, potentially causing the loss of the first lactate threshold. This study aimed to determine the ideal speed for runners to start incremental treadmill tests. The study consisted of 94 runners who self-reported the average speed from their last competitive race (10-42.195 km) and performed an incremental test on a treadmill. The speeds used during the first three test stages were normalised in percentages of average competition speed and blood lactate concentration was analysed at the end of each stage. The relationship between speed in each stage and blood lactate concentration was analysed. In the first stage, at an intensity corresponding to 70% of the reported average race speed, only one volunteer had blood lactate concentration equal to 2 mmol·L-1, and in the third stage (90% of the average race speed) the majority of the volunteers had blood lactate concentration ≥2 mmol·L-1. Our results demonstrated that 70% of the average speed from the subject’s last competitive race - from 10 to 42.195 km - was the best option for obtaining blood lactate concentration <2 mmol·L-1 in the first stage, however, 80% of the average speed in marathons may be a possibility. Evaluators can use 70% of the average speed in competitive races as a strategy to ensure that the aerobic threshold intensity is not achieved during the first stage of incremental treadmill tests.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.