“Coaching runners outside and inside the fence“
I´m asking myself from Qatar how has been my adaptation in the last few hours, since I landed almost 72 hours ago here in Middle East from Madrid (Spain). I´m expecting a fresh and optimal performance tomorrow at 1500m (Quadriplegic class) World Champs, held in warm or pretty hot Doha but Do We really have non invasive tools to measure from an objective point of view how fresh or tired I am?
I Think, Therefore I am! (Descartes)
Autonomic modulation of Heart Rate has been a great exercise physiology study field, where two ways of defining cardiac autonomic nervous system status were researched:
- Waking up Heart Rate Variability (Plews, D.J. et al., 2012-2013; Hynynen, E. et al., 2006)
- Post-exercise Heart Rate variability (Rusko, H. et al., 2011; Millet, G. et al., 2015)
Non Functional overreaching or negative adaption to training (We could add overseas trips with/without Jet-Lag, altitude acclimatation,...) has been associated with reductions in vagal related indices of Heart Rate Variability (Hynynen, E. et al., 2006; Bosquet, L. et al, 2008).
Increases in exercise performance (Garet, M. et al. 2004; Pichot, V. et al., 2007; Bucheit, M. et al., 2011) or fitness (Lee, C.M. et al., 2003; Garet, M. et al. 2004; Hautala, A.J. et al., 2009) was associated with increases in Heart Rate Variability (parasympathetic related indices as RMSSD, NN50, HF) and also (SDNN or SDRRi) (Uutisalo, A.L.T. et al., 1996).
Altitude conditions can shift from vagal predominance toward Sympathetic predominance
Last two works I read showed a shifted from vagal predominance to sympathetic predominance in Olympic Champion and World Champion class rowers, maybe due to tappering (decreasing volume component which lead up to a decrease in plasma volume and by the way a decrease in vagal related indices of Heart Rate Variability, also explained by the increase of intensity component of training load) (Bucheit, M. et al., 2013). Iellamo, F. et al. 2002 showed a shifted from vagal predominance at the beginning of the season, when rowers of Italian Team performed moderate loads at 75% of intensity (not explained if related to Vo2max, Vo2maxspeed,...) to a sympathetic predominance when they performed 100% intensity loads nine months after season began. In both works a decrease in Heart Rate Variabilyity was shown during competition days and in both studies, gold medals at the Olympics 2012 and silver medals at World Champs in 2001 were achieved, a fact that clearly demonstrates that a reduction in Vagal related indices of Heart Rate Variability in elite endurance athletes musn´t be associated with a poor performance.
Tappering can induce a sympathetic predominance!
Heart Rate Variability measured post-exercise has been an interesting tool to define the stressful level of training load, as well defined in manuscripts from (Rusko, H. et al., 2011; Millet, G. et al., 2015). In both works subjects showed a recovery of vagal related Heart Rate Variability indices but not a complete recovery as shown pre-exercise baseline levels.
In special populations like paraplegics controversial results were shown comparing sedentary with active subjetcts (Fernhall, B. et al., 2010), anyways and this is a personal opinion, everyone shows a Heart Rate Variability pattern inmediately after exercising or right after waking up (acute effect of training load). I have realized after analyze the Heart Rate Variability of my paraplegic marathon athlete and what I´m clearly convinced is that my or his perform is greater when the day to day basis periodization has been applied, according to Autonomic Profiles evolution like recommended by Tulppo, Hautala, Kiviniemi,...
What means optimal training? More Means Better?
For a deeper understanding of Autonomic Control of Heart Rate related with Endurance Exercise I recommend (Carter, J.B., Banister, E.W. & Blaber, A.P.; Effect of Endurance Exercise on Autonomic Control of Heart Rate; Sports Medicine, 2003)
Coming up in my next entry I will explain the performance impaired that Spanish Paralympic Track & Field Team will have in Rio due to Spanish Paralympic Committee not allow athletes to set standards for the Games in 2015. Does it respect periodization principles?
A enthusiastic athlete and sport physiologist!!!
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