Skin Temperature, Training Load, and Subjective Muscle Soreness in Junior Endurance Athletes: A Case Study

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Context: The application of infrared thermography to assess the effects of athletic training is increasing. It is not known if changes in skin temperature (Tsk) as assessed by infrared thermography are affected by the training load or the muscle soreness experienced by the athlete. Purpose: To describe the variations in Tsk in body areas affected by running training and examine any relationships with subjective ratings of muscle soreness. The secondary aim was to assess the feasibility of using infrared thermography for assessing training load in 2 junior male middle-distance athletes. Methods: Data were collected over a 42-d observational period with Tsk of the quadriceps, knees, shins, lateral hamstrings, biceps femoris, and Achilles tendons, and the subjective ratings of muscle soreness were taken each morning prior to any training. All training load was quantified through heart rate, running speed, and distance covered. Changes in Tsk outside the typical error were identified. Relationships between Tsk and subjective ratings of muscle soreness were also examined. Results: Over the 42-d observational period, mean Tsk of the regions of interest was reported outside the typical error on day 31 and day 22 for athletes 1 and 2, respectively. These changes in Tsk did not follow trends similar to those of to training loadings. No significant relationships were observed between Tsk of any regions of interest and muscle soreness. Conclusions: Although Tsk changed outside the typical error throughout the 42-d observational period, these changes were not reflective of training load quantified through cardiovascular strain or subjective ratings of muscle soreness.

Jones is with the Dept of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. Jones, Shillabeer, and Cardinale are with the Dept of Sport Sciences, ASPIRE Academy for Sports Excellence, Doha, Qatar. Cardinale is with the Dept of Computer Science, Inst of Sport Exercise and Health, University College London, London, United Kingdom.

Jones (thomas2.jones@northumrbia.ac.uk) is corresponding author.
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