<bold>Background:</bold> The aim of this study was to lay out an incremental running test to determine anaerobic threshold and its usefulness as a predictability factor of the physiological load on professional soccer players during soccer training activities.
<bold>Material/Methods:</bold> Subjects performed multi-stage incremental running test at three time points throughout the soccer season on a synthetic soccer pitch to determine the lactate threshold. The initial speed was set at 2.8 m/s and increased by 0.4 m/s after each stage until termination. HR was recorded at 5-second intervals by the Polar heart rate monitor (Polar Electro, FIN) at the end of each 3.30 - 5 min running stage. A capillary blood sample was taken from the fingertip during 1 minute rest between stages. Blood lactate concentration from each sample was assigned to the corresponding values of the heart rate and the running speed. Beaver method was used to determine the lactate threshold (LT) and the corresponding values of HR (HR/LT) and the running speed (V/LT). According to V/LT and HR/LT players were assigned to running and training groups for optimal individualization of the training process. Players performed some training activities like running or small-sided games in those groups.
<bold>Results:</bold> The velocity at LT in the first test was 3.61 ± 0.22 m/s and increased during the preparation period (Test 2 - 3.79 ± 0.21 m/s). A further increment was observed during the soccer season. HR/LT was 173.90 ± 7 bpm in the first test and decreased after preseason preparations to 168.58 ± 6.78 bpm. During the soccer season no significant changes were observed.
<bold>Conclusions:</bold> In this study we have observed that aerobic fitness increased during the preparation period and a further increment was observed after the competitive season. The present study shows V/LT and HR/LT as useful indicators for programming and monitoring training loads.
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”.