Pacing pattern in a 30-minute maximal cycling test

J Strength Cond Res. 2008 Nov;22(6):2011-7. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31818751b9.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the pacing pattern and associated physiological effects in competitive cyclists who performed a 30-minute maximal cycling test. Measurements included oxygen uptake (V O2), heart rate (HR), blood lactate concentration (BLC), rating of perceived exertion (RPE), and work rate in watts. Twelve well-trained amateur cyclists (seven men and five women) whose mean age was 32.4 +/- 8.6 years participated in this study. They performed a 30-minute self-paced maximal cycling test using their own performance road bike attached to a CompuTrainer Pro, which allowed the assessment of work rate (W). During the test, work rate, V O2, and HR were measured every 30 seconds. Subjects' BLC and RPE were obtained every 5 minutes. Results indicate that no significant differences existed across three 10-minute periods for work rate, HR, or V O2. However, RPE at 30 minutes was significantly greater than RPE at 10 and 20 minutes (both p < 0.05). The RPE at 20 minutes was also greater than the RPE at 10 minutes (p < 0.01). Work rate remained relatively constant, with minimal fluctuations occurring throughout the test except for a surge during the final 30 seconds of the test. The associated V O2 was fairly constant over time, whereas HR rose linearly and gradually. It was concluded that pacing in a 30-minute maximal exercise bout performed in the laboratory in experienced cyclists varies minimally until the last 30 seconds. Knowledge of pacing strategy and the linked physiological responses may be helpful to exercise scientists in optimizing performance in the endurance athlete.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bicycling / physiology*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid / blood
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Physical Exertion / physiology


  • Lactic Acid