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Talk Test Found to be a Powerful Tool for Endurance Athletes

As a runner, I love to run in groups. The time passes by faster as we all share stories, get to know each other better, and typically laugh the miles away. I’ve grown accustom to talking while I run. In fact, I often fear I talk too much when I run. However, new studies have been conducted regarding talking while exercising and the findings may have me upping my chatter for the sake of my fitness.

Recently, exercise scientists from the University of New Hampshire confirmed the effectiveness of the “talk test”- a relatively simple and low-tech method used to measure exercise intensity.

The rather simple test required the participants to recite the Pledge of Allegiance while exercising at different intensity levels. Their heart rates and maximal oxygen consumption, or V02 max, were measured during the test. Those who spoke comfortably were at their lower end of exercise intensity. Those who could no longer speak comfortably were at the upper end of the intensity guidelines.

It seems fair to assume that the talk test would help gauge lung and cardiovascular fitness or more specifically, the ventilatory threshold. While it does, the scientists were most surprised to find how the talk test related more accurately to the lactate threshold.

The lactate threshold refers to the point at which muscles stop metabolizing and removing lactic acid as it builds during exercise. This is why muscles ache after exercise, because they have built up lactic acid that was not metabolized and removed.

The study found that the talk test best related to lactate threshold, therefore making it a fantastic tool for endurance athletes. Endurance athletes have to do some intense training that will bring them close to the lactate threshold, but they never want to go over. The talk test has been found to be a great way to measure that tipping point. If a seasoned endurance athlete can no longer talk, they can judge for themselves that they may be going beyond the lactate threshold and need to pull back.

These finding can put more knowledge in the training athlete’s hands. Knowing when to pull back can prevent injury, increase the quality in workouts, and ultimately train a stronger athlete.

Some days I don’t have a comment as the running group slips into a conversation about subject I know nothing about- like football. I suppose I might be better served to chime in about the commercials or team colors, you know, to keep my threshold levels in check.

Via: Science Daily

Also Read:

Tempo Running Explained by a Coach

Use V02 Max to Determine Your Fitness Level

What is Physical Fitness

September 27th, 2011

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