Purpose: Reaction time has been proposed as a training monitoring tool, but to date, results are equivocal. Therefore, it was investigated whether reaction time can be used as a monitoring tool to establish overreaching. Methods: The study included 30 subjects (11 females and 19 males, age: 40.8 [10.8] years, VO2max: 51.8 [6.3] mL/kg/min) who participated in an 8-day cycling event. The external exercise load increased approximately 900% compared with the preparation period. Performance was measured before and after the event using a maximal incremental cycling test. Subjects with decreased performance after the event were classified as functionally overreached (FOR) and others as acutely fatigued (AF). A choice reaction time test was performed 2 weeks before (pre), 1 week after (post), and 5 weeks after (follow-up), as well as at the start and end of the event. Results: A total of 14 subjects were classified as AF and 14 as FOR (2 subjects were excluded). During the event, reaction time at the end was 68 ms (95% confidence interval, 46–89) faster than at the start. Reaction time post event was 41 ms (95% confidence interval, 12–71) faster than pre event and follow-up was 55 ms faster (95% confidence interval, 26–83). The time by class interaction was not significant during (P = .26) and after (P = .43) the event. Correlations between physical performance and reaction time were not significant (all Ps > .30). Conclusions: No differences in choice reaction time between AF and FOR subjects were observed. It is suggested that choice reaction time is not valid for early detection of overreaching in the field.
Twan ten Haaf, Selma van Staveren, Danilo Iannetta, Bart Roelands, Romain Meeusen, Maria F. Piacentini, Carl Foster, Leo Koenderman, Hein A.M. Daanen and Jos J. de Koning
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
To investigate whether monitoring of easily measurable stressors and symptoms can be used to distinguish early between acute fatigue (AF) and functional overreaching (FOR).
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.
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%).
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.