Roose, J., de Vries, W. R., Schmikli, S. L., & van Dooren, L. J. (2005). Evaluation of performance in adolescent runners as a possible link to overtraining. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 37(5), Supplement abstract 298.

Adolescent distance runners (N = 35) were followed for seven months. Four tests (Zoladz-test) were administered. Daily hassles, life events, sleep quality, physical enjoyment, and POMS mood scores were evaluated by questionnaires. Daily resting heart rate and saliva cortisol were monitored. Runners (N = 8) who improved performance and those (N = 8) who declined in performance were compared.

Declining performers had significantly more sources of stress (daily hassles, tension) in their daily lives at the start of the investigation than improvers. At the second and third measures, declining performers registered significantly more depression, anger, and tension. No other factors differentiated the two groups. In male runners, relatively high morning cortisol levels increased across the first three measures and declined at the fourth measure, indicating that morning cortisol followed desired training effects in improvers but not in decliners.

Implication. Stress experienced in a season of training is influenced by predisposition to total stress adaptation. Subjective feelings of training adaptation may be the most reliable predictors of overtraining.

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