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Int J Sports Med. 1992 Nov;13(8):572-6.

Effect of short-term training cessation on performance measures in distance runners.

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Human Performance Laboratory, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina 27858.


This study examined if measures associated with distance running performance were affected by short-term (14 d) training cessation in 12 distance runners. VO2max decreased by approximately 3 (mean +/- SE, 61.6 +/- 2.0 vs 58.7 +/- 1.8, p < 0.05) with training cessation. Time to exhaustion (TTE) during the incremental VO2max test decreased by 1.2 min (13.0 +/- 0.5 vs 11.8 +/- 0.5 min, p < 0.001) and maximal heart rate increased (p < 0.001) by 9 beats per minute (BPM). No changes in running economy (75 and 90% VO2max) were evident, although submaximal heart rate increased by 11 BPM (p < 0.001) at both running speeds. Other evidence for detraining were decreases in estimated resting plasma volume (-5.1 +/- 1.9%) and muscle citrate synthase activity (-25.3 +/- 2.6%, p < 0.05). Muscular atrophy (muscle fiber cross-sectional area) was not evident. TTE and submaximal heart rate exhibited relatively large percent changes (-9 and +6%, respectively) compared to VO2max (-4%). These findings indicate that the reduction in VO2max with short-term training cessation is relatively small. TTE and submaximal heart rate may be easily measured, yet more sensitive indicators of decrements in distance running performance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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