A short-term training model previously shown to result in a tighter metabolic control in working muscle in the absence of an increase in mitochondrial potential was used to examine changes in lactate turnover. Lactate flux was studied before and after 10 days of cycle training [2 h/day at 59% maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max)] in untrained men [VO2max = 45.5 +/- 2.4 (SE) ml.kg-1.min-1). A primed constant infusion of L-[1-13C]lactate was used to examine lactate kinetics during a prolonged exercise protocol (90 min at 59% VO2max). Rate of appearance of lactate increased with exercise (P < 0.01), both pretraining (rest = 30.3 +/- 4.9 ml.kg-1.min-1, exercise = 115 +/- 14 ml.kg-1.min-1) and posttraining (rest = 28.4 +/- 4.7 ml.kg-1.min-1, exercise = 112 +/- 13 ml.kg-1.min-1). Despite a lower blood lactate concentration (P < 0.05) during exercise after training, there was no difference in the rate of appearance of lactate. Training increased (P < 0.05) the metabolic clearance rate of lactate during exercise from 36.8 +/- 4.8 to 51.4 +/- 6.8 ml.kg-1.min-1. These findings indicate that at least part of the lower exercising blood lactate observed after training is due to an increase in metabolic clearance rate. In addition, the lower intramuscular lactate levels suggest a decreased recruitment of glycolysis particularly early in exercise.