Flynn, M. G., Pizza, F. X., Boone, J. B. Jr., Andres, F. F., Michaud, T. A., & Rodriguez-Zayas, J. R. (1994). Indices of training stress during competitive running and swimming seasons. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 15, 21-26.

Male college cross-country runners (N = 8) and swimmers (N = 8) were tested at the start of the training season, after 3 weeks of increased training, 3 weeks prior to championships, and 4 days after the championships.

Previously identified markers of training stress, resting heart rate, blood pressure, serum cortisol, and testosterone to cortisol ratio were not significantly altered at any time. Free testosterone and total testosterone may be effective endocrine markers in swimming but only when there is a substantial increase in volume or intensity of work. This response was not observed in runners.

Implication. Since these potential markers were not very sensitive, their value for monitoring training stress is questionable. Performance and psychological measures seem to better reflect training dosage than minute markers. As with any hormonal or blood parameter, markers are hard to differentiate from being instantaneous as a result of one very hard training session or long-term as in continued excessive fatigue.

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