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Jos J. de Koning

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Jos J. de Koning

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Jos J. de Koning

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Jos J. de Koning

The quality of performance during international competitions such as the Olympic Games and various world championships is often judged by the number of world records attained. The simple fact that world records continue to improve is evidence that sports performance is progressing. Does this also mean that athletes are improving? Is the continual progression of world-record performances evidence that contemporary athletes are superior to the athletes who performed in the past? Technological developments may obscure insight into the athletic enhancement made by athletes over the years. This commentary tries to separate technological and athletic enhancement in the progression of world records by the use of a power balance model.

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Jos J. de Koning and Dionne A. Noordhof

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Jasper Reenalda, Maurice T.F. Maas and Jos J. de Koning

Purpose:

To examine the influence of induced changes in the morphology of the leg by adding mass on the optimal step length (OSL) in experienced runners to get more insight into parameters that influence preferred step length (PSL) and OSL.

Methods:

Thirteen experienced male runners (mean age 26.9 ± 6.1 y, height 183.7 ± 7.1 cm, mass 71.8 ± 5.9 kg) ran on a treadmill in 3 different conditions: unloaded (UL), loaded with 2 kg mass at the ankles (MA), and loaded with 2 kg mass at the hips (MH) at 7 different step lengths (SLs). SL deviations were expressed as deviations in relative leg length (%LL) from the individual PSL: 0%LL, ±5%LL, ±10%LL, and ±15%LL. Trials lasted 8 min, and 8 min of rest was given between trials. Oxygen uptake (V̇O2) was expressed as a fraction of V̇O2 at PSL + 0%LL in the unloaded condition (%V̇O2). The %SL with the lowest value of %V̇O2 was considered the OSL for this group of participants.

Results:

OSL at the UL condition was 6% shorter than PSL. The MA condition resulted in a 7%LL larger OSL than at UL and MH (P < .05).

Conclusions:

The mass distribution of the leg is a determinant of the OSL. As a consequence of the added mass to the ankles, OSL was 7%LL longer. Morphological characteristics of the leg might therefore play an important role in determining the runner’s individual optimal SL.

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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.

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Carl Foster, Jos J. de Koning and Christian Thiel

The official world records (WR) for the 1-mile run for men (3:43.13) and for women (4:12.58) have improved 12.2% and 32.3%, respectively, since the first WR recognized by the International Association of Athletics Federations. Previous observations have suggested that the pacing pattern for successive laps is characteristically faster-slower-slowest-faster. However, modeling studies have suggested that uneven energy-output distribution, particularly a high velocity at the end of the race, is essentially wasted kinetic energy that could have been used to finish sooner. Here the authors report that further analysis of the pacing pattern in 32 men’s WR races is characterized by a progressive reduction in the within-lap variation of pace, suggesting that improving the WR in the 1-mile run is as much about how energetic resources are managed as about the capacity of the athletes performing the race. In the women’s WR races, the pattern of lap times has changed little, probably secondary to a lack of depth in the women’s fields. Contemporary WR performances have been achieved a coefficient of variation of lap times on the order of 1.5–3.0%. Reasonable projection suggests that the WR is overdue for improving and may require lap times with a coefficient of variation of ~1%.

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Dionne A. Noordhof, Philip F. Skiba and Jos J. de Koning

Anaerobic capacity/anaerobically attributable power is an important parameter for athletic performance, not only for short high-intensity activities but also for breakaway efforts and end spurts during endurance events. Unlike aerobic capacity, anaerobic capacity cannot be easily quantified. The 3 most commonly used methodologies to quantify anaerobic capacity are the maximal accumulated oxygen deficit method, the critical power concept, and the gross efficiency method. This review describes these methods, evaluates if they result in similar estimates of anaerobic capacity, and highlights how anaerobic capacity is used during sporting activities. All 3 methods have their own strengths and weaknesses and result in more or less similar estimates of anaerobic capacity but cannot be used interchangeably. The method of choice depends on the research question or practical goal.