Practical tests for monitoring performance, fatigue and recovery in triathletes

Sports Medicine Australia
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal Of Science And Medicine In Sport, 2007, 10 (6), pp. 372 - 381
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Few studies have described simple tests which can be used to provide an early warning of overreaching. The purpose of this study was to examine selected practical tests for monitoring changes in performance, fatigue and recovery of endurance athletes. Sixteen male triathletes were randomly assigned into matched groups. The normal training (NT) and intensified training (IT) groups completed 4 weeks of training followed by a 2-week taper. Physiological measures were taken pre- and post-overload and post-taper periods during an incremental treadmill test to exhaustion. Performance was assessed weekly using a 3-km run time trial (3 kmTT). Five-bound jump for distance (5BT) and submaximal running heart rate (HRsubmax) test were measured twice weekly and the Daily Analyses of Life Demands for Athletes (DALDA) were recorded. During the overload training period, the IT group completed 290% more training load than the NT group (p < 0.001). After the overload training period, 3 kmTT in the IT group was reduced compared to both pre-training (3.7%, p < 0.05) and the NT group (6.8%, p < 0.05). 5BT was decreased by 7.9% in the IT group following the overload period (p < 0.05). The IT group also demonstrated increases in stress reaction symptoms from the DALDA. Following the taper, the IT group improved 3 kmTT. In contrast, the performance, physiological and psychological markers of NT group remained relatively unchanged throughout the 6-week training period. There were weak significant correlations between weekly changes in 3 kmTT and 5BT (r = â0.37, p < 0.01). The DALDA and 5BT may be practical tests for assessing changes in performance, fatigue and recovery of endurance athletes.
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