Influence of Load Carriage on High-Intensity Running Performance Estimation

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Abstract

Solomonson, AA, Dicks, ND, Kerr, WJ, and Pettitt, RW. Influence of load carriage on high-intensity running performance estimation. J Strength Cond Res 30(5): 1391–1396, 2016—Load carriage is a necessary burden for tactical athletes. A combination of training modes, including aerobic conditioning and progressive load carriage, may lead to improved performance. The critical speed (CS) concept enables the practitioner to prescribe high-intensity interval training (HIIT) time limits (TLIMs) from a single 3-minute all-out exercise test (3 MT). We sought to examine the effect of a standard load carriage (18.86 kg) on CS and the finite running capacity > CS (D′). A group of trained subjects (age: 26 ± 5 years, height: 181 ± 4 cm, body mass [BM]: 90 ± 14 kg) completed a loaded and unloaded (UL) 3 MT. The CS was reduced by 0.66 ± 0.24 m·s−1 (p < 0.01) in the loaded condition. There was a small nonsignificant increase in D′ (21.25 ± 39.53 m, p = 0.07). The higher the % load carriage relative to BM is, the greater decline in CS (r = 0.83, p < 0.01). A revised CS with load carriage from the UL 3 MT may be calculated using: adjusted CS = original CS + ([−0.0638 × %load]) + 0.6982. Our results indicate that revised CS and TLIMs for fixed distance, fixed time, or fixed speed HIIT prescriptions may be derived from a UL 3 MT. Such calculations would enable more expeditious training for tactical athletes. We recommend further research involving implementation of HIIT using this new method.

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