Psycho-biological monitoring of health and performance among endurance athletes

Luana Chandra Justice Main

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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    To date, research has endeavoured to identify reliable early-warning markers to prevent the onset of overtraining (OT). While numerous physiological and biochemical symptoms have been proposed as potential indicators of OT, they have not been useful in preventing it. Therefore, there is a need for long-term monitoring studies to determine how to prevent overtraining. This research needed to consider a range of psychological, physiological, and immunological parameters, as they are all thought to be interrelated in this psycho-biological phenomenon. For this research to be directly applicable for coaches and their athletes, it was necessary to observe the athletes training, without intervention, across an entire training and competitive year. Central to OT is the notion of a stress and recovery imbalance (chronic exposure to stressors). Therefore, Study 1 explored the effect of stressors (training and non-training) experienced by triathletes, on common self-report measures of training overload (mood disturbance and physical symptoms of training overload), athlete burnout, and the incidence of injury and illness across an entire training and competitive year. Study 2 investigated the possible association between perceived stress and the psychoneuroendocrine response to training overload in elite rowers. In light of the findings of Study 1, a simple self-report training distress measure was created in Study 3; incorporating the assessment of mood disturbance, perceived stress and trainingrelated symptoms. Finally, Study 4 explored the possibility of a cytokine hypothesis of overtraining. Using the training distress measure created in Study 3, the possible association between these components of training overload and selected indices of the inflammatory response following a period of intense and prolonged endurance training was assessed.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2009

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