The purpose of this study was to analyze the effects of high-level competition on salivary free cortisol, countermovement jump (CMJ), and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and the relationships between these fatigue indicators in a group of elite middle- and long-distance runners.
The salivary free cortisol levels and CMJ height of 10 high-level middle- and long-distance runners (7 men, 3 women; age 27.6 ± 5.1y) competing in 800-m, 1500-m, 3000-m, or 5000-m events in the 2013 Spanish National Championships were measured throughout a 4-wk baseline period, then again before and after their respective races on the day of the competition. Athletes’ RPE was also measured after their races.
Cortisol increased significantly after the race compared with the value measured 90 min before the race (+98.3%, g = 0.82, P < .05), while CMJ height decreased significantly after the race (–3.9%, g = 0.34, P < .05). The decrease in CMJ height after the race correlates significantly with the postcompetition cortisol increase (r = .782, P < .05) and the RPE assessment (r = .762, P < .01).
Observed differences in CMJ height correlate significantly with salivary free cortisol levels and RPE of middle- and long-distance runners. These results show the suitability of the CMJ for monitoring multifactorial competition responses in high-level middle- and long-distance runners.
The authors are with the Department of Physical Education, Sport and Human Movement, Autonomous University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain. Address author correspondence to Carlos Balsalobre-Fernández at email@example.com.