Mood and Cycling Performance in Response to Three Weeks of High-Intensity, Short-Duration Overtraining, and a Two-Week Taper

in The Sport Psychologist
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  • 1 University of Wyoming
  • 2 Brooklyn College, City University of New York
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This study examined changes in mood and performance in response to high-intensity, short-duration overtraining and a subsequent taper. Pursuit cyclists (N = 8) at the United States Olympic Training Center completed the POMS and simulated 4-km pursuit performance tests throughout a six-week period. The six-week period included a baseline week, three weeks of overtraining that consisted primarily of high-intensity interval training, and a two-week taper. Total Mood Disturbance (TMD) scores displayed a quadratic polynomial effect across the three weeks of overtraining (p < .01), with the highest TMD scores occurring in the second week. Average TMD scores were lower during the taper than at baseline (p < .02) and lower at taper than overtraining (p < .0005). Cycling performance (pursuit time and average power output) improved during the three weeks of overtraining; additional improvements were observed during the taper. There were no significant correlations between TMD and performance. However, pursuit time, average power output, and mood disturbance scores were at optimal levels throughout the taper period. These findings suggest that high-intensity, short-duration overtraining may not result in an overtraining syndrome in 4-km pursuit cyclists.

Bonnie G. Berger is now with the School of Human Movement, Sport, and Leisure Studies, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403-0248. Robert W. Motl is now at the Department of Exercise Science, University of Georgia. David R. Owen is with the Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College, CUNY. Brian D. Butki is now at the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, IL. David T. Martin is now at the Department of Physiology and Applied Nutrition, Australian Institute of Sport. John G. Wilkinson is with the School of Physical and Health Education, University of Wyoming.

This research was funded in part by a Science and Technology grant (S94-017-A-C-1) from the United States Olympic Training Center.

We would like to express appreciation to Patrick S. Leuschen for his assistance in the preparation of this manuscript, and to Peter Crocker and a reviewer for their insightful comments that enabled us to strengthen the manuscript.