Preprint / Version 1

Estimation of endurance performance markers using a metabolic model in cycling

a pilot study




cycling, endurance, blood lactate, VO2max, exercise physiology


Introduction: Metabolic models can be used to simulate dose-time responses in physiological parameters like blood lactate concentration. Likewise, these models can be applied to observed data from graded exercise tests to estimate endurance performance markers like maximal oxygen consumption (V̇O2max) and maximal lactate accumulation rate (ċLamax). Currently, this method is not explained in the literature. The aim of this pilot study is 1) to transparently report an algorithm for estimation, 2) to compare the theoretical and practical maximal lactate steady-state (MLSS), and 3) to inform a rigorous study design to optimize and validate this approach.

Methods: Ten Participants from two labs participated in this non-experimental study. Body composition, a submaximal ergometer test, and a 30-minute one-trial MLSS test at the intensity of the theoretical MLSS were conducted on two separate days. Maximal post-lactate values were fitted to the metabolic model from Mader & Heck (1986) to estimate V̇O2max and ċLamax, which consequently determined the theoretical MLSS. The increase in blood lactate concentration from minute 10 to 30 was analyzed and a sensitivity analysis was conducted, using the advanced model from Mader (2003).

Results: The average blood lactate concentration increase in the one-trial MLSS test from minute 10 to 30 was 1.38 ± 1.27 mmol/L. The sensitivity analysis shows that for 50 % of the measurements the actual difference between the power at the theoretical and practical MLSS is less than 1.8%.

Conclusion: This study provides a proof-of-concept for using metabolic simulations to derive estimates for endurance performance markers that determine the metabolic profile of an athlete. This study can inform the design of future validation studies on this approach.


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