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Julien Louis, Fabrice Vercruyssen, Olivier Dupuy and Thierry Bernard

Master athletes are often considered exemplars of successful aging, thanks to their capacity to maintain a high sports performance during their entire life. A high training capacity, regular participation in sporting competitions, and delayed alterations in body composition and physiological capacities have been listed among the main factors contributing to impressive master athletes’ performances. However, there is a paucity of data on the metabolism and dietary habits of master athletes, and the question of whether they need to adapt their nutrition to the aging process remains open. Herein, the authors presented a contemporary overview of the metabolic challenges associated with aging, including the risk of low energy availability, anabolic resistance, and periods of metabolic crisis due to forced immobilization. After assembling scientific evidence to show that master athletes must adapt their dietary intake, the authors proposed a summary of nutritional recommendations for master athletes and suggested the next stage of research.

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Yann Le Meur, Thierry Bernard, Sylvain Dorel, Chris R. Abbiss, Gérard Honnorat, Jeanick Brisswalter and Christophe Hausswirth

Purpose:

The purpose of the present study was to examine relationships between athlete’s pacing strategies and running performance during an international triathlon competition.

Methods:

Running split times for each of the 107 finishers of the 2009 European Triathlon Championships (42 females and 65 males) were determined with the use of a digital synchronized video analysis system. Five cameras were placed at various positions of the running circuit (4 laps of 2.42 km). Running speed and an index of running speed variability (IRSVrace) were subsequently calculated over each section or running split.

Results:

Mean running speed over the frst 1272 m of lap 1 was 0.76 km-h–1 (+4.4%) and 1.00 km-h–1 (+5.6%) faster than the mean running speed over the same section during the three last laps, for females and males, respectively (P < .001). A significant inverse correlation was observed between RSrace and IRSVrace for all triathletes (females r = -0.41, P = .009; males r = -0.65, P = .002; and whole population -0.76, P = .001). Females demonstrated higher IRSVrace compared with men (6.1 ± 0.5 km-h–1 and 4.0 ± 1.4 km-h–1, for females and males, respectively, P = .001) due to greater decrease in running speed over uphill sections.

Conclusions:

Pacing during the run appears to play a key role in high-level triathlon performance. Elite triathletes should reduce their initial running speed during international competitions, even if high levels of motivation and direct opponents lead them to adopt an aggressive strategy.

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François Bieuzen, Jeanick Brisswalter, Christopher Easthope, Fabrice Vercruyssen, Thierry Bernard and Christophe Hausswirth

Background:

Compression garments are increasingly popular in long-distance running events where they are used to limit cumulative fatigue and symptoms associated with mild exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD). However, the effective benefits remain unclear.

Objective:

This study examined the effect of wearing compression stockings (CS) on EIMD indicators. Compression was applied during or after simulated trail races performed at competition pace in experienced off-road runners.

Methods:

Eleven highly trained male runners participated in 3 simulated trail races (15.6 km: uphill section 6.6 km, average gradient 13%, and downhill section 9.0 km, average gradient –9%) in a randomized crossover trial. The effect of wearing CS while running or during recovery was tested and compared with a control condition (ie, run and recovery without CS; non- CS). Indicators of muscle function, muscle damage (creatine kinase; CK), inflammation (interleukin-6; IL-6), and perceived muscle soreness were recorded at baseline (1 h before warm-up) and 1, 24, and 48 h after the run.

Results:

Perceived muscle soreness was likely to be lower when participants wore CS during trail running compared with the control condition (1 h postrun, 82% chance; 24 h postrun, 80% chance). A likely or possibly beneficial effect of wearing CS during running was also found for isometric peak torque at 1 h postrun (70% chance) and 24 h postrun (60% chance) and throughout the recovery period on countermovement jump, compared with non-CS. Possible, trivial, or unclear differences were observed for CK and IL-6 between all conditions.

Conclusion:

Wearing CS during simulated trail races mainly affects perceived leg soreness and muscle function. These benefits are visible very shortly after the start of the recovery period.

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Anne Delextrat, Véronique Tricot, Thierry Bernard, Fabrice Vercruyssen, Christophe Hausswirth and Jeanick Brisswalter

The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of drafting, i.e., swimming directly behind a competitor, on biomechanical adaptation during subsequent cycling. Eight well-trained male triathletes underwent three submaximal sessions in a counterbalanced order. These sessions comprised a 10-min ride on a bicycle ergometer at 75% of maximal aerobic power (MAP) at a freely chosen cadence. This exercise was preceded either by a 750-m swim performed alone at competition pace (SCA trial: swimming-cycling alone), a 750-m swim in a drafting position at the same pace as during SCA (SCD trial: swimming-cycling with drafting), or a cycling warm-up at 30% of MAP for the same duration as the SCA trial (CTRL trial). The results indicated that the decrease in metabolic load when swimming in a drafting position (SCD trial) was associated with a significantly lower pedal rate and significantly higher mean and peak resultant torques when compared to the SCA trial, p < 0.05. These results could be partly explained by the lower relative intensity during swimming in the SCD trial when compared with the SCA trial, involving a delayed manifestation of fatigue in the muscles of the lower limbs at the onset of cycling.