A 1-day maximal lactate steady-state assessment protocol for trained runners

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1999 Sep;31(9):1336-41. doi: 10.1097/00005768-199909000-00016.


Purpose: Identification of the maximal lactate steady state (MLSS) involves multiple days of testing. Heart rate (HR), rating of perceived exertion (RPE), breathing frequency (bf), and race pace may be useful in estimating the MLSS, thus allowing for testing to occur in a single day. The purpose of this investigation was to design a single-session protocol for determining MLSS using HR, RPE, bf, and race pace as predictors.

Methods: Twelve endurance athletes (mean +/- SD, VO2max 64.6 +/- 7.8 mL x kg(-1) x min(-1)) performed the MLSS protocol run and two 27-min validation runs on a treadmill. Running velocity at 87% HRmax RPE of 12, bf of 32 breaths x min(-1), and race pace were used as a starting point for testing. Blood was collected every 3 min of each 9-min stage of the protocol run and analyzed for lactate (La) concentration. The velocity associated with the MLSS was determined as the average of the stage of La steady state and the stage of La accumulation. Validation runs were performed at a velocity 7.5 m x min(-1) below and 7.5 m x min(-1) above the protocol-determined MLSS. If the slower run exhibited a La steady state and the faster run an accumulation of La, then the protocol-determined MLSS value was considered valid.

Results: The protocol run was successful in predicting the MLSS in 9 out of 12 subjects (P < or = 0.05).

Conclusions: The proposed protocol employing HR, RPE, bf, and race pace as a starting point for testing can be used to identify the MLSS in one testing session.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid / blood*
  • Male
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Regression Analysis
  • Running / physiology*


  • Lactic Acid