Comparison of Laboratory and Field-Based Predictors of 5-km Race Performance in Division I Cross-Country Runners

Authors: Katie M. Sell, Ph.D., CSCS, TSAC-F, ACSM EP-C
Department of Health Professions, Hofstra University, NY
Jamie Ghigiarelli, Ph.D., CSCS, USAW, CISSN
Department of Health Professions, Hofstra University, NY

Corresponding Author:
Katie M. Sell, Ph.D., CSCS, TSAC-F, ACSM EP-C
Department of Health Professions, 101 Hofstra Dome, 220 Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY 11549
Phone: 516-463-5814
Email: Katie.Sell@hofstra.edu

Comparison of Laboratory and Field-Based Predictors of 5-km Race Performance in Division I Cross-Country Runners

ABSTRACT
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the predictive capabilities of laboratory- (VO2max, VO2@VT) versus field-based performance variables (2-mile trial time; 2-MTT) in determining 5-km performance time in collegiate cross-country runners. Methods: Twenty Division I college cross-country runners completed a 2-MTT on an outdoor track, a VO2max test under controlled laboratory settings, and a 5-km run under competitive conditions. All tests were completed within a 10-day timeframe. Oxygen uptake during the VO2max test was measured during treadmill running using open circuit spirometry. Oxygen consumption at ventilatory threshold (VO2@VT) was determined using the ventilatory equivalent method. Results: Significant correlations were observed between each predictor variable and 5-km performance time. Regression analyses revealed that 2-MTT and VO2@VT contributed significantly to predicting 5-km race performance (r2 = 0.90, p<0.05). Conclusions: For the highly trained runners in this study, 2-MTT and VO2@VT are among the variables best able to predict 5-km race performance, and accounted for a similar magnitude of variance in 5-km performance time. Applications in Sport: A 2-MTT is cheaper, quicker, and more feasible to administer than a VO2max test to determine VT during the short pre-season and intensive in-season inherent in collegiate cross-country schedules. Given the results of this study, the 2-MTT may present an attractive alternative to laboratory testing as a means to monitor cross-country runner’s progress throughout a season.
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