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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2003 Nov;95(5):1955-62.

High-speed running performance: a new approach to assessment and prediction.

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Flight Laboratory, Division of Biological Sciences, University of Montana, Missoula 59812, USA.


We hypothesized that all-out running speeds for efforts lasting from a few seconds to several minutes could be accurately predicted from two measurements: the maximum respective speeds supported by the anaerobic and aerobic powers of the runner. To evaluate our hypothesis, we recruited seven competitive runners of different event specialties and tested them during treadmill and overground running on level surfaces. The maximum speed supported by anaerobic power was determined from the fastest speed that subjects could attain for a burst of eight steps (approximately 3 s or less). The maximum speed supported by aerobic power, or the velocity at maximal oxygen uptake, was determined from a progressive, discontinuous treadmill test to failure. All-out running speeds for trials of 3-240 s were measured during 10-13 constant-speed treadmill runs to failure and 4 track runs at specified distances. Measured values of the maximum speeds supported by anaerobic and aerobic power, in conjunction with an exponential constant, allowed us to predict the speeds of all-out treadmill trials to within an average of 2.5% (R2 = 0.94; n = 84) and track trials to within 3.4% (R2 = 0.86; n = 28). An algorithm using this exponent and only two of the all-out treadmill runs to predict the remaining treadmill trials was nearly as accurate (average = 3.7%; R2 = 0.93; n = 77). We conclude that our technique 1) provides accurate predictions of high-speed running performance in trained runners and 2) offers a performance assessment alternative to existing tests of anaerobic power and capacity.

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