Rats were subjected to a laddermill running programme either once per week for 6 weeks, or daily for 6 weeks. Heart mass and maximal oxygen consumption rate increased relative to controls and with the frequency of the running programme. Mitochondrial distribution, measured in seven regions within fibres, was similar in all hearts, with a peak volume density of 0.42 +/− 0.01 occurring 4–5 microns from the centre of a capillary. Capillary density decreased with increasing heart mass, but total capillary length and capillary-to-fibre ratio were constant. Thus the higher metabolic demands of the running programmes did not alter the volume density or distribution of mitochondria, despite significant increases in heart mass and decreases in capillarity.

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