CROSS-COUNTRY RUNNERS DO NOT ALWAYS TRAIN AT THE COACH-INTENDED INTENSITY

Hagen, M. A., Bouchard, C. E., Donohue, J. M., Stenson, M. C., & Fischer, D. V. (2013). Do Division III cross-country runners experience the intended coach prescribed training impulse (TRIMP)? Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 45(5), Supplement abstract number 1230.

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This study examined the relationship between coach-intended, athlete-perceived, and physiological training impulses (TRIMPs) during recovery, slow long-distance, tempo, and interval training performed by Division III female cross country runners (N = 14). A TRIMP weighting scale and an associated rating of perceived exertion scale were created for every athlete based on the individualís blood lactate curve. Heart rate data were collected using Polar Team System heart rate monitors during a two week in-season period. Athletes were blinded to the heart rate data. Physiological TRIMPs were calculated by multiplying time spent in each heart-rate zone by the assigned weighting factor. Coach intended TRIMPs for each practice session were calculated by multiplying the time spent training by the weighting factor associated with the prescribed session-rating of perceived exertion. The athlete perceived TRIMPs for each practice session were calculated by multiplying the time spent training by the weighting factor associated with the athlete-perceived-rating of perceived exertion.

Significant differences between the coach-intended, athlete-perceived, and physiological mean TRIMPs were revealed for recovery, tempo, and interval training, but not for slow long-distance training. Least Significant Difference post-hoc testing revealed a significant difference in the mean coach-intended and physiological TRIMPs during recovery training. Post-hoc testing also revealed significant differences in the mean coach-intended and athlete-perceived TRIMPS during tempo and interval training.

Implication. During recovery sessions, Ss ran at intensities greater than that prescribed by the coach. During tempo and interval training, athletes ran at the coach-indicated intensity, but perceived themselves to be training at a lower intensity. Closer monitoring of training intensity may be needed to ensure the appropriate training stimulus is achieved if that is important.

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