Marathon runners and acid base status

The research data for this publication was collected by Dr Jerzy Zoladz (now Professor) in his home town of Krakow in Poland. It was analysed and written-up with input from Anthony Sargeant when Jerzy spent a year or more working in the Department in Amsterdam.
European Journal of Applied Physiology
Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1993;67(1):71-6

Four top-class runners who regularly performed marathon and long-distance races participated in this study. They performed a graded field test on an artificial running track within a few weeks of a competitive marathon. The test consisted of five separate bouts of running.

Each period lasted 6 min with an intervening 2-min rest bout during which arterialized capillary blood samples were taken. Blood was analysed for pH, partial pressure of oxygen and carbon dioxide (PO2 and PCO2) and lactate concentration ([la-]b). The values of base excess (BE) and bicarbonate concentration ([HCO3-]) were calculated. The exercise intensity during the test was regulated by the runners themselves. The subjects were asked to perform the first bout of running at a constant heart rate fc which was 50 beats.min-1 below their own maximal fc. Every subsequent bout, each of which lasted 6 min, was performed with an increment of 10 beats.min-1 as the target fc. Thus the last, the fifth run, was planned to be performed with fc amounting to 10 beats.min-1 less than their maximal fc. The results from these runners showed that the blood pH changed very little in the bouts performed at a running speed below 100% of mean marathon velocity (nu m). However, once nu m was exceeded, there were marked changes in acid-base status. In the bouts performed at a velocity above the nu m there was a marked increase in [la-]b and a significant decrease in pH, [HCO3-], BE and pCO2. The average marathon velocity (nu m) was 18.46 (SD 0.32) km.h-1.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)


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