Moritz Schumann, Javier Botella, Laura Karavirta and Keijo Häkkinen
To compare the effects of a standardized endurance-training program with individualized endurance training modified based on the cumulative training load provided by the Polar training-load feature.
After 12 wk of similar training, 24 recreationally endurance-trained men were matched to a training-load-guided (TL, n = 10) or standardized (ST, n = 14) group and continued training for 12 wk. In TL, training sessions were individually chosen daily based on an estimated cumulative training load, whereas in ST the training was standardized with 4–6 sessions/wk. Endurance performance (shortest 1000-m running time during an incremental field test of 6 × 1000 m) and heart-rate variability (HRV) were measured every 4 wk, and maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) was measured during an incremental treadmill test every 12 wk.
During weeks 1–12, similar changes in VO2max and 1000-m time were observed in TL (+7% ± 4%, P = .004 and –6% ± 4%, P = .069) and ST (+5% ± 7%, P = .019 and –8% ± 5%, P < .001). During wk 13–24, VO2max statistically increased in ST only (3% ± 4%, P = .034). The 1000-m time decreased in TL during wk 13–24 (–9% ± 5%, P = .011), but in ST only during wk 13–20 (–3% ± 2%, P = .003). The overall changes in VO2max and 1000-m time during wk 0–24 were similar in TL (+7% ± 4%, P = .001 and –9% ± 5%, P = .011) and ST (+10% ± 7%, P < .001 and –13% ± 5%, P < .001). No between-groups differences in total training volume and frequency were observed. HRV remained statistically unaltered in both groups.
The main finding was that training performed according to the cumulative training load led to improvements in endurance performance similar to those with standardized endurance training in recreational endurance runners.
Clint R. Bellenger, Laura Karavirta, Rebecca L. Thomson, Eileen Y. Robertson, Kade Davison and Jonathan D. Buckley
Heart-rate variability (HRV) as a measure of autonomic function may increase in response to training interventions leading to increases or decreases in performance, making HRV interpretation difficult in isolation. This study aimed to contextualize changes in HRV with subjective measures of training tolerance.
Supine and standing measures of vagally mediated HRV (root-mean-square difference of successive normal RR intervals [RMSSD]) and measures of training tolerance (Daily Analysis of Life Demands for Athletes questionnaire, perception of energy levels, fatigue, and muscle soreness) were recorded daily during 1 wk of light training (LT), 2 wk of heavy training (HT), and 10 d of tapering (T) in 15 male runners/triathletes. HRV and training tolerance were analyzed as rolling 7-d averages at LT, HT, and T. Performance was assessed after LT, HT, and T with a 5-km treadmill time trial (5TTT).
Time to complete the 5TTT likely increased after HT (effect size [ES] ± 90% confidence interval = 0.16 ± 0.06) and then almost certainly decreased after T (ES = −0.34 ± 0.08). Training tolerance worsened after HT (ES ≥ 1.30 ± 0.41) and improved after T (ES ≥ 1.27 ± 0.49). Standing RMSSD very likely increased after HT (ES = 0.62 ± 0.26) and likely remained higher than LT at the completion of T (ES = 0.38 ± 0.21). Changes in supine RMSSD were possible or likely trivial.
Vagally mediated HRV during standing increased in response to functional overreaching (indicating potential parasympathetic hyperactivity) and also to improvements in performance. Thus, additional measures such as training tolerance are required to interpret changes in vagally mediated HRV.