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Bonnie G. Berger, Robert W. Motl, Brian D. Butki, David T. Martin, John G. Wilkinson and David R. Owen

This study examined changes in mood and performance in response to high-intensity, short-duration overtraining and a subsequent taper. Pursuit cyclists (N = 8) at the United States Olympic Training Center completed the POMS and simulated 4-km pursuit performance tests throughout a six-week period. The six-week period included a baseline week, three weeks of overtraining that consisted primarily of high-intensity interval training, and a two-week taper. Total Mood Disturbance (TMD) scores displayed a quadratic polynomial effect across the three weeks of overtraining (p < .01), with the highest TMD scores occurring in the second week. Average TMD scores were lower during the taper than at baseline (p < .02) and lower at taper than overtraining (p < .0005). Cycling performance (pursuit time and average power output) improved during the three weeks of overtraining; additional improvements were observed during the taper. There were no significant correlations between TMD and performance. However, pursuit time, average power output, and mood disturbance scores were at optimal levels throughout the taper period. These findings suggest that high-intensity, short-duration overtraining may not result in an overtraining syndrome in 4-km pursuit cyclists.

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David T. Martin, Mark B. Andersen and Ward Gates

This study examined whether the Profile of Mood States questionnaire (POMS) is a useful tool for monitoring training stress in cycling athletes. Participants (n = 11) completed the POMS weekly during six weeks of high-intensity interval cycling and a one-week taper. Cycling performance improved over the first three weeks of training, plateaued during Weeks 4 and 5, decreased slightly following Week 6, and then significantly increased during the one-week taper. Neither the high-intensity interval training nor the one-week taper significantly affected total mood or specific mood states. POMS data from two cyclists who did not show improved performance capabilities during the taper (overtraining) were not distinctly unique when compared to cyclists who did improve. Also, one cyclist, who on some days had the highest total mood disturbance, responded well to the taper and produced his best personal effort during this time period. These findings raise questions about the usefulness of POMS to distinguish, at an individual level, between periods of productive and counterproductive high-intensity training.