Coombes, J. S., Smith, T. P., Dilger, J., Penney, G., Davoren, B., & Geraghty, D. P. (2001). Optimising high intensity treadmill training using vVO2max and Tmax. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 33(5), Supplement abstract 748.

This study assumed that treadmill training improves middle-distance running performance [something that appears to violate the Principle of Specificity]. Two treadmill training parameters are the velocity of running at VO2max (vVO2max) and time an athlete can sustain vVO2max (Tmax). This investigation assessed the effectiveness of interval training using either 60% or 70% Tmax as interval duration while intensity was VO2max. Highly-trained middle-distance runners were assigned to a control or either a 60% or 70% Tmax interval-training group on a treadmill (two times per week) and trained for four weeks. All groups continued regular training.

The 60% Tmax group significantly improved 3,000 m time trial (17.5 sec) and extended Tmax significantly as well as vVO2max, while the other two groups did not improve in any of these factors.

It appeared that 60% Tmax treadmill training was effective in influencing 3,000-m, but not 5,000-m time trials. More work on this topic is needed before it is embraced as being another mechanical training protocol. It does not appear that treadmill training is the main determinant of effect, but rather the interval duration could be.

Implication. Supplementary treadmill training is advocated as beneficial for middle-distance runners but only under restricted conditions.

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