Preferred transition speed between walking and running: effects of training status

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2005 Nov;37(11):1864-70. doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000177217.12977.2f.


Purpose: This study was conducted to identify the preferred transition speed (PTS) between walking and running and the energetically optimal transition speed (ETOS), in runners and nonrunners.

Methods: A total of 19 young men were asked to walk on a treadmill at 5 km.h(-1). Speed was then increased by 0.2 km.h(-1) every minute. Subjects were instructed to start running at a particular speed they felt was easier. PTS for each subject was determined as the mean of the walk-run and the run-walk transitions. Subjects were also asked to walk and to run for 5 min at each of the following velocities: PTS - 1 km.h(-1), PTS - 0.5 km.h(-1), PTS, PTS + 0.5 km.h(-1), and PTS + 1 km.h(-1). This procedure was performed twice, once walking and once running, at all speeds. Physiologic measurements of oxygen consumption, heart rate, and rate of perceived exertion (RPE) were performed at each stage. EOTS was determined by plotting individual curves for each subject with the energy cost of locomotion as a function of velocity.

Results: Preferred transition speed was 7.23 +/- 0.25 and 7.42 +/- 0.25 km.h(-1) for nonrunners and runners, respectively (P > 0.05), and differed significantly (F = 16.47, alpha < 0.001) from the EOTS, which was 8.02 +/- 0.84 km.h(-1) for nonrunners and 7.90 +/- 0.48 km.h(-1) for the runners. No significant differences were found between runners and nonrunners in PTS or EOTS. Running at the PTS resulted in a significantly lower RPE and higher energy cost than walking at the PTS in both groups.

Conclusion: This study indicates that 1) the preferred PTS is slower than the EOTS, and 2) the PTS and EOTS are not dependent on the aerobic capacity or the training status.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Running / physiology*
  • Walking / physiology*