PHYSIOLOGICAL IMPROVEMENTS SHOULD NOT BE EXPECTED DURING THE COMPETITIVE PHASE
Mero, A., Rusko, H., Peltola, E. Pullinen, T., Nummela, A., & Hirvonen, J. (1993). Aerobic characteristics, oxygen debt and blood lactate in speed endurance athletes during training. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 33, 130-136.
"Speed endurance athletes" comprised 20 male 400-m sprinters and hurdlers. Ss were tested at the beginning of March, the end of May, and the end of August. The latter measurement period was the competitive phase.
Aerobic and anaerobic threshold and maximal oxygen uptake measured on a treadmill decreased from the end of May to the end of August. Time to exhaustion improved from March to May and then did not change. The highest level of oxygen debt was measured in May. Peak blood lactate following anaerobic work, increased from March to May and then remained stable.
Good athletes differed from poorer athletes in time to exhaustion, 100-m time, and VO2max.
During the competitive period, aerobic status declined while anaerobic work characteristics remained high. Testing of anaerobic adaptation in the competitive period should be particularly specific.
Implication. Aerobic status declines when trained 400-m runners experience an extended competitive period. Anaerobic factors remain stable and high. Physiological improvements should not be expected once the competitive phase of training begins.
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