Effect of recovery modality on 4-hour repeated treadmill running performance and changes in physiological variables

J Sci Med Sport. 2004 Mar;7(1):1-10. doi: 10.1016/s1440-2440(04)80038-0.


The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of three different recovery modalities--active (ACT), passive (PAS) and contrast temperature water immersion (CTW)--on the performance of repeated treadmill running, lactate concentration and pH. Fourteen males performed two pairs of treadmill runs to exhaustion at 120% and 90% of peak running speed (PRS) over a 4-hour period. ACT, PAS or CTW was performed for 15-min after the first pair of treadmill runs. ACT consisted of running at 40% PRS, PAS consisted of standing stationary and CTW consisted of alternating between 60-s cold (10 degrees C) and 120-s hot (42 degrees C) water immersion. Run times were converted to time to cover set distance using critical power. Type of recovery modality did not have a significant effect on change in time to cover 400 m (Mean +/- SD; ACT 2.7 +/- 3.6 s, PAS 2.9 +/- 4.2 s, CTW 4.2 +/- 6.9 s), 1000 m (ACT 2.2 +/- 4.0 s, PAS 4.8 +/- 8.6 s, CTW 2.1 +/- 7.2 s) or 5000 m (ACT 1.4 +/- 29.0 s, PAS 16.7 +/- 58.5 s, CTW 11.7 +/- 33.0 s). Post exercise blood lactate concentration was lower in ACT and CTW compared with PAS. Participants reported an increased perception of recovery in the CTW compared with ACT and PAS. Blood pH was not significantly influenced by recovery modality. Data suggest both ACT and CTW reduce lactate accumulation after high intensity running, but high intensity treadmill running performance is returned to baseline 4-hours after the initial exercise bout regardless of the recovery strategy employed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise Tolerance / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Fatigue / physiology*
  • Running / physiology*
  • Sports
  • Temperature
  • Time Factors
  • Water


  • Water
  • Lactic Acid