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Open access

Carl Foster, Jose A. Rodriguez-Marroyo and Jos J. de Koning

Training monitoring is about keeping track of what athletes accomplish in training, for the purpose of improving the interaction between coach and athlete. Over history there have been several basic schemes of training monitoring. In the earliest days training monitoring was about observing the athlete during standard workouts. However, difficulty in standardizing the conditions of training made this process unreliable. With the advent of interval training, monitoring became more systematic. However, imprecision in the measurement of heart rate (HR) evolved interval training toward index workouts, where the main monitored parameter was average time required to complete index workouts. These measures of training load focused on the external training load, what the athlete could actually do. With the advent of interest from the scientific community, the development of the concept of metabolic thresholds and the possibility of trackside measurement of HR, lactate, VO2, and power output, there was greater interest in the internal training load, allowing better titration of training loads in athletes of differing ability. These methods show much promise but often require laboratory testing for calibration and tend to produce too much information, in too slow a time frame, to be optimally useful to coaches. The advent of the TRIMP concept by Banister suggested a strategy to combine intensity and duration elements of training into a single index concept, training load. Although the original TRIMP concept was mathematically complex, the development of the session RPE and similar low-tech methods has demonstrated a way to evaluate training load, along with derived variables, in a simple, responsive way. Recently, there has been interest in using wearable sensors to provide high-resolution data of the external training load. These methods are promising, but problems relative to information overload and turnaround time to coaches remain to be solved.

Open access

Twan ten Haaf, Selma van Staveren, Erik Oudenhoven, Maria F. Piacentini, Romain Meeusen, Bart Roelands, Leo Koenderman, Hein A.M. Daanen, Carl Foster and Jos J. de Koning

Purpose:

To investigate whether monitoring of easily measurable stressors and symptoms can be used to distinguish early between acute fatigue (AF) and functional overreaching (FOR).

Methods:

The study included 30 subjects (11 female, 19 male; age 40.8 ± 10.8 y, VO2max 51.8 ± 6.3 mL · kg–1 · min–1) who participated in an 8-d cycling event over 1300 km with 18,500 climbing meters. Performance was measured before and after the event using a maximal incremental test. Subjects with decreased performance after the event were classified as FOR, others as AF. Mental and physical well-being, internal training load, resting heart rate, temperature, and mood were measured daily during the event. Differences between AF and FOR were analyzed using mixed-model ANOVAs. Logistic regression was used to determine the best predictors of FOR after 3 and 6 d of cycling.

Results:

Fifteen subjects were classified as FOR and 14 as AF (1 excluded). Although total group changes were observed during the event, no differences between AF and FOR were found for individual monitoring parameters. The combination of questionnaire-based changes in fatigue and readiness to train after 3 d cycling correctly predicted 78% of the subjects as AF or FOR (sensitivity = 79%, specificity = 77%).

Conclusions:

Monitoring changes in fatigue and readiness to train, using simple visual analog scales, can be used to identify subjects likely to become FOR after only 3 d of cycling. Hence, we encourage athlete support staff to monitor not only fatigue but also the subjective integrated mental and physical readiness to perform.