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Montassar Tabben, Laurent Bosquet and Jeremy B. Coquart

Purpose:

This study examined the effect of performance level on the validity and accuracy of middle-distance running-performance predictions obtained from the nomogram of Mercier et al in male runners.

Methods:

Official French track-running rankings for the 3000-, 5000-, and 10,000-m events from 2006 to 2014 were examined. The performance level was determined from the official reference table of the Fédération Française d’Athlétisme, and the runners were divided in 3 groups (ie, low, moderate, and high levels). Only male runners who performed in the 3 distance events within the same year were included (N = 443). Each performance over any distance was predicted using the nomogram from the 2 other performances.

Results:

No difference was found in low- and moderate-performance-level athletes (0.02 ≤ effect size [ES] ≤ 0.06, 95% limits of agreement [LoA] ≤ 6%). By contrast, a small difference in high-performance-level athletes (P < .01, 0.23 ≤ ES ≤ 0.45, 95% LoA ≤ 11.6%) was found.

Conclusion:

The study confirms the validity of the nomogram to predict track-running performance with a high level of accuracy, except for male runners with high performance level (ie, national or international). Consequently, the predictions from the nomogram may be used in training programs (eg, to prescribe tempo runs with realistic training velocities) and competitions (eg, to plan realistic split times to reach the best performance).

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Nicolas Berryman, Iñigo Mujika and Laurent Bosquet

The classical work by Robert C. Hickson showed in 1980 that the addition of a resistance-training protocol to a predominantly aerobic program could lead to impaired leg-strength adaptations in comparison with a resistance-only training regimen. This interference phenomenon was later highlighted in many reports, including a meta-analysis. However, it seems that the interference effect has not been consistently reported, probably because of the complex interactions between training variables and methodological issues. On the other side of the medal, Dr Hickson et al subsequently (1986) reported that a strength-training mesocycle could be beneficial for endurance performance in running and cycling. In recent meta-analyses and review articles, it was demonstrated that such a training strategy could improve middle- and long-distance performance in many disciplines (running, cycling, cross-country skiing, and swimming). Notably, it appears that improvements in the energy cost of locomotion could be associated with these performance enhancements. Despite these benefits, it was also reported that strength training could represent a detrimental stimulus for endurance performance if an inappropriate training plan has been prepared. Taken together, these observations suggest that coaches and athletes should be careful when concurrent training seems imperative to meet the complex physiological requirements of their sport. This brief review presents a practical appraisal of concurrent training for sports performance. In addition, recommendations are provided so that practitioners can adapt their interventions based on the training objectives.

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Nicolas Berryman, Iñigo Mujika, Denis Arvisais, Marie Roubeix, Carl Binet and Laurent Bosquet

Purpose: To assess the net effects of strength training on middle- and long-distance performance through a meta-analysis of the available literature. Methods: Three databases were searched, from which 28 of 554 potential studies met all inclusion criteria. Standardized mean differences (SMDs) were calculated and weighted by the inverse of variance to calculate an overall effect and its 95% confidence interval (CI). Subgroup analyses were conducted to determine whether the strength-training intensity, duration, and frequency and population performance level, age, sex, and sport were outcomes that might influence the magnitude of the effect. Results: The implementation of a strength-training mesocycle in running, cycling, cross-country skiing, and swimming was associated with moderate improvements in middle- and long-distance performance (net SMD [95%CI] = 0.52 [0.33–0.70]). These results were associated with improvements in the energy cost of locomotion (0.65 [0.32–0.98]), maximal force (0.99 [0.80–1.18]), and maximal power (0.50 [0.34–0.67]). Maximal-force training led to greater improvements than other intensities. Subgroup analyses also revealed that beneficial effects on performance were consistent irrespective of the athletes’ level. Conclusion: Taken together, these results provide a framework that supports the implementation of strength training in addition to traditional sport-specific training to improve middle- and long-distance performance, mainly through improvements in the energy cost of locomotion, maximal power, and maximal strength.

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Veronique Labelle, Laurent Bosquet, Said Mekary, Thien Tuong Minh Vu, Mark Smilovitch and Louis Bherer

The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of exercise intensity, age, and fitness levels on executive and nonexecutive cognitive tasks during exercise. Participants completed a computerized modified-Stroop task (including denomination, inhibition, and switching conditions) while pedaling on a cycle ergometer at 40%, 60%, and 80% of peak power output (PPO). We showed that a bout of moderate-intensity (60% PPO) to high-intensity (80% PPO) exercise was associated with deleterious performance in the executive component of the computerized modified-Stroop task (i.e., switching condition), especially in lower-fit individuals (p < .01). Age did not have an effect on the relationship between acute cardiovascular exercise and cognition. Acute exercise can momentarily impair executive control equivalently in younger and older adults, but individual’s fitness level moderates this relation.

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Sabrina Skorski, Iñigo Mujika, Laurent Bosquet, Romain Meeusen, Aaron J. Coutts and Tim Meyer

Physiological and psychological demands during training and competition generate fatigue and reduce an athlete’s sport-specific performance capacity. The magnitude of this decrement depends on several characteristics of the exercise stimulus (eg, type, duration, and intensity), as well as on individual characteristics (eg, fitness, profile, and fatigue resistance). As such, the time required to fully recover is proportional to the level of fatigue, and the consequences of exercise-induced fatigue are manifold. Whatever the purpose of the ensuing exercise session (ie, training or competition), it is crucial to understand the importance of optimizing the period between exercise bouts in order to speed up the regenerative processes and facilitate recovery or set the next stimulus at the optimal time point. This implies having a fairly precise understanding of the fatigue mechanisms that contribute to the performance decrement. Failing to respect an athlete’s recovery needs may lead to an excessive accumulation of fatigue and potentially “nonfunctional overreaching” or to maladaptive training. Although research in this area recently increased, considerations regarding the specific time frames for different physiological mechanisms in relation to exercise-induced fatigue are still missing. Furthermore, recommendations on the timing and dosing of recovery based on these time frames are limited. Therefore, the aim of this article is to describe time courses of recovery in relation to the exercise type and on different physiological levels. This summary supports coaches, athletes, and scientists in their decision-making process by considering the relationship of exercise type, physiology, and recovery.

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Michael Kellmann, Maurizio Bertollo, Laurent Bosquet, Michel Brink, Aaron J. Coutts, Rob Duffield, Daniel Erlacher, Shona L. Halson, Anne Hecksteden, Jahan Heidari, K. Wolfgang Kallus, Romain Meeusen, Iñigo Mujika, Claudio Robazza, Sabrina Skorski, Ranel Venter and Jürgen Beckmann

The relationship between recovery and fatigue and its impact on performance has attracted the interest of sport science for many years. An adequate balance between stress (training and competition load, other life demands) and recovery is essential for athletes to achieve continuous high-level performance. Research has focused on the examination of physiological and psychological recovery strategies to compensate external and internal training and competition loads. A systematic monitoring of recovery and the subsequent implementation of recovery routines aims at maximizing performance and preventing negative developments such as underrecovery, nonfunctional overreaching, the overtraining syndrome, injuries, or illnesses. Due to the inter- and intraindividual variability of responses to training, competition, and recovery strategies, a diverse set of expertise is required to address the multifaceted phenomena of recovery, performance, and their interactions to transfer knowledge from sport science to sport practice. For this purpose, a symposium on Recovery and Performance was organized at the Technical University Munich Science and Study Center Raitenhaslach (Germany) in September 2016. Various international experts from many disciplines and research areas gathered to discuss and share their knowledge of recovery for performance enhancement in a variety of settings. The results of this meeting are outlined in this consensus statement that provides central definitions, theoretical frameworks, and practical implications as a synopsis of the current knowledge of recovery and performance. While our understanding of the complex relationship between recovery and performance has significantly increased through research, some important issues for future investigations are also elaborated.