Foster, C., Crowe, M. P., Holum, D., Sandvig, S., Schrager, M., Snyder, A. C., & Zajakowski, S. (1995). The bloodless lactate profile. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 27, 927-933.

The blood lactate profile is a popular method of evaluating athletes and providing a basis for the prescription of training intensity. Because of problems associated with drawing blood, the efficacy of relative velocity and %HRmax at training as an alternative to the lactate profile was evaluated.

Speed skaters (N = 20) performed a lactate profile test covering 5,200 m in incremental velocities over 400 m distance. Lactate was sampled during a 60 sec interval following each repetition. Relative velocity was calculated relative to the velocity of the maximum trial. HRmax was determined for each stage of the lactate test. Steady state lactate occurred 4-6.5mM/l at a relative velocity of 78-88% and at 84-92% HRmax.

These levels were cross-validated in another session where skaters covered 9,200 m in 400 m increments at steady state. The lactate steady state predicted 81% of training responses, the relative velocity 78%, and %HRmax 68%.

Implication. Although the results of this study were statistically significant, it appears that considerable error will be made if the procedures are used to prescribe training. Roughly one in five training prescriptions will be wrong if these indexes are used. The ethics of knowing that some athletes will be detrimentally affected by these procedures and still using them has to be considered.

Return to Table of Contents for this issue.