Predicting competition performance in long-distance running by means of a treadmill test

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1998 Oct;30(10):1552-7. doi: 10.1097/00005768-199810000-00014.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the power of 16 parameters beside the individual anaerobic threshold (IAT) in predicting performance in various competition distances.

Methods: This study examined 427 competitive runners to test the prediction probability of the IAT and other parameters for various running distances. All runners (339 men, 88 women; ages, 32.5 +/- 10.14 yr; training, 7.1 +/- 5.53 yr; training distance, 77.9 +/- 35.63 km.wk-1) performed an increment test on the treadmill (starting speed, 6 or 8 km.h-1; increments, 2 km.h-1; increment duration, 3 min to exhaustion). The heart rate (HR) and the lactate concentrations in hemolyzed whole blood were measured at rest and at the end of each exercise level. The IAT was defined as the running speed at a net increase in lactate concentration 1.5 mmol.L-1 above the lactate concentration at LT.

Results: Significant correlations (r = 0.88-0.93) with the mean competition speed were found for the competition distances and could be increased using stepwise multiple regression (r = 0.953-0.968) with a set of additional parameters from the training history, anthropometric data, or the performance diagnostics.

Conclusions: The running speed at a defined net lactate increase thus produces an increasing prediction accuracy with increasing distance. A parallel curve of the identity straight lines with the straight lines of regression indicates the independence of at least a second independent performance determining factor.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anaerobic Threshold / physiology
  • Body Height
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Exercise Test*
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Lactates / blood
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Probability
  • Running / education
  • Running / physiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Lactates