Purpose: Knowledge of aerobic performance capacity allows for the optimisation of training programs in aerobically dominant sports. Maximal aerobic speed (MAS) is a measure of aerobic performance; however, the time and personnel demands of establishing MAS are considerable. This study aimed to determine whether time-trials (TT), which are shorter and less onerous than traditional MAS protocols, may be used to predict MAS. Methods: 28 Australian Rules football players completed a test of MAS, followed by TTs of six different distances in random order, each separated by at least 48 h. Half of the participants completed TT distances of 1200, 1600 and 2000 m, and the others completed distances of 1400, 1800 and 2200 m. Results: Average speed for the 1200 and 1400 m TTs were greater than MAS (P < 0.01). Average speed for 1600, 1800, 2000 and 2200 m TTs were not different from MAS (P > 0.08). Average speed for all TT distances correlated with MAS (r = 0.69–0.84; P < 0.02), but there was a negative association between the difference in average TT speed and MAS with increasing TT distance (r = −0.79; P < 0.01). Average TT speed over the 2000 m distance exhibited the best agreement with MAS. Conclusions: MAS may be predicted from the average speed during a TT for any distance between 1200 and 2200 m, with 2000 m being optimal. Performance of a TT may provide a simple alternative to traditional MAS testing.
- Australian rules football
- Maximal aerobic speed
- Time trial
- Training intensity
- Velocity at maximal oxygen consumption