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This longitudinal case study evaluated the effectiveness of an online training-monitoring system to prevent nonfunctional overreaching (NFOR).
A female master track and field athlete was followed by means of a daily online training diary (www.spartanova.com) and a weekly profile of mood state (POMS). The online diary consists of objective training data and subjective feelings reported on a 10-cm visual analog scale. Furthermore, parameters that quantify and summarize training and adaptation to training were calculated. The novelty consists in the inclusion of a specific measuring parameter tested to detect NFOR (OR score).
During track-season preparation, the athlete was facing some major personal changes, and extratraining stress factors increased. Despite the fact that training load (TL) did not increase, the or score showed a 222% and then a 997% increase compared with baseline. POMS showed a 167% increase in fatigue, a 38% decrease in vigor, a 32% increase in depression scores, and a total mood increase of 22%, with a 1-wk shift compared with the OR score. A 41% decrease in TL restored the OR score and POMS to baseline values within 10 d.
The results demonstrate that immediate feedback obtained by “warning signals” to both athletes and coaches, based on individual baseline data, seems an optimal predictor of FOR/NFOR.
Piacentini is with the Dept of Movement, Human and Health Sciences, University of Rome Foro Italico, Rome, Italy. Meeusen is with the Dept of Human Physiology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium.