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Purpose:

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.

Method:

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.

Results:

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).

Conclusions:

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 carlos.balsalobre@uam.es.