Traditionally, it has been assumed that during middle-distance running oxygen uptake (V̇O2) reaches its maximal value (V̇O2max) providing the event is of a sufficient duration; however, this assumption is largely based on observations in individuals with a relatively low V̇O2max. The aim of this study was to determine whether V̇O2max is related to the V̇O2 attained (i.e. V̇O2peak) during middle-distance running on a treadmill. Fifteen well-trained male runners (age 23.3 ± 3.8 years, height 1.80 ± 0;0.10 m, body mass 76.9 ± 10.6 kg) volunteered to participate in the study. The participants undertook two 800-m trials to examine the reproducibility of the V̇O2 response. These two trials, together with a progressive test to determine V̇O2max, were completed in a randomized order. Oxygen uptake was determined throughout each test using 15-s Douglas bag collections. Following the application of a 30-s rolling average, the highest V̇O2 during the progressive test (i.e. V̇O2max) was compared with the highest V̇O2 during the 800-m trials (i.e. V̇O2peak) to examine the relationship between V̇O2max and the V̇O2 attained in the 800-m trials. For the 15 runners, V̇O2max was 58.9 ±7.1 ml · kg-1 · min-1. Two groups were formed using a median split based on V̇O2max. For the high and low V̇O2max groups, V̇O2max was 65.7 ± 3.0 and 52.4 ±1.8 ml · kg-1 · min-1 respectively. The limits of agreement (95%) for test-retest reproducibility for the V̇O2 attained during the 800-m trials were ± 3.5 ml · kg-1min ·-1 for a V̇O2peak of 50.6 ml · kg-1 · min-1 (the mean V̇O2peak for the low V̇O2max group) and ± 2.3 ml · kg-1 · min-1 for a V̇O2peak of 59.0 ml · kg-1 · min-1 (the mean V̇O2peak for the high V̇O2max group), with a bias in V̇O2peak between the 800-m runs (i.e. the mean difference) of 1.2 ml · kg-1 · min-1. The V̇O2peak for the 800-m runs was 54.8 ± 4.9 ml · kg-1 · min-1 for all 15 runners. For the high and low V̇O2max groups, V̇O2peak was 59.0 ± 3.3 ml · kg-1 · min-1 (i.e. 90% V̇O2max) and 50.6 ± 2.0 ml · kg-1 · min-1 (i.e. 97% V̇O2max) respectively. The negative relationship (-0.77) between V̇O2max and % V̇O2max attained for all 15 runners was significant (P=0.001). These results demonstrate that (i) reproducibility is good and (ii) that V̇O2max is related to the % V̇O2max achieved, with participants with a higher V̇O2max achieving a lower % V̇O2max in an 800-m trial on a treadmill.
James, D. V. B., Sandals, L. E., Draper, S. B., & Wood, D. M. (2007). Relationship between maximal oxygen uptake and oxygen uptake attained during treadmill middle-distance running. Journal of Sports Sciences, 25(8), 851–858. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640410600875226