Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of altering the initial running speed (RS) in the incremental portion of the lactate minimum test on the lactate minimum speed (LMS).
Methods: Eight well-trained endurance runners (mean +/- SD age 29.0 +/- 5.4 yr, body mass 72.0 +/- 5.6 kg, VO2max 63.1 +/- 3.8 mL x kg(-1) min(-1)) completed a standard incremental treadmill test for the assessment of the lactate threshold (LT) and VO2max, and eight lactate minimum tests. Following a period of supramaximal exercise, subjects were allowed 8 min of recovery to allow blood [lactate] to peak. Subjects then undertook eight randomly-assigned incremental treadmill tests from different initial running speeds (3.0, 2.5, 2.0, 1.5, 1.0, and 0.5 km x h(-1) below the predetermined RS-LT, at the RS-LT, and at 1.0 km x h(-1) above the RS-LT) with RS increased by 1.0 km x h(-1) every 5 min until volitional fatigue. Blood samples for the determination of blood [lactate] were taken at the end of each stage and the LMS was determined by fitting a spline function to the data.
Results: No LMS could be determined for the two highest initial RS conditions. For the other conditions, the LMS was significantly affected by the initial RS used in the incremental test and varied from 13.8 +/- 0.7 km x h(-1) with an initial RS of 3.0 km x h(-1) below the RS-LT, to 15.8 +/- 0.8 km x h(-1) with an initial RS of 0.5 km x h(-1) below the RS-LT. The LMS was significantly different from the RS-LT (15.4 +/- 0.8 km x h(-1)) (P < 0.05), except when the incremental test started at 1.0 or 1.5 km x h(-1) below the RS-LT.
Conclusions: These results suggest that the LMS test is not a valid method for estimation of the LT since it is profoundly influenced by the starting speed selected for the incremental portion of the test.