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Sports Science Monthly – August 2018

Welcome back to another edition of Sports Science Monthly. This month, we take a closer look at periodizing some different aspects of training, sleep as a measurement for overtraining, building resilience, supplements, and several other topics. Read more

What have you changed your mind about?

Every year, Edge.org asks a question to a number of eminent thinkers in science, and in 2008 the question was “What have you changed your mind about.” The answers were compiled into a book, and many of the contributors to describe changes – some small, some major – in their thinking about either their field or the world at large. Read more

Sports Science Monthly – July 2017

Welcome back to another monthly installment of our sports science round up. This month, we look at low carbohydrate, high fat diets; usually this is the context of endurance performance, but this time we look at it from the perspective of power performance. We also have an interesting case study of unexplained underperformance syndrome, commonly referred to as overtraining, and papers examining mechanisms underpinning muscle hypertrophy, stretching, chronotype, and the genetics of injury. As always, we finish with a quick fire round-up of other interesting papers that have caught my eye this month. Read more

Sports Science Monthly – March 2017

This month we take a look at a wide range of different findings in the field of sports science. To begin with, we have a consensus statement on immunity within athletes, followed by papers examining issues such as the best exercise for hamstring strength, postactivation potentiation, overtraining, readiness to train, as well as a quick fire round up to finish. Read more

Remedies for Collegiate Burnout

The past five years I coached at the NCAA Division I level here in Portland. This year, however, I am happy to report I have left the NCAA system. Why? In a word: burnout. No, I am not burnt out on coaching — I still have 5 more years until I retire! — rather I am burnt out on watching athletes burn out. From my experience, the heart of this variety of coaching entails an attempt, in vain, to prepare young men and women distance runners to compete at a very high competitive level for nine months out of the year, four years in a row. It is a fool’s gambit and athlete burnout is a guarantee. Read more

My Story of Overtraining

You might have noticed that I felt quite passionate about the topic of overtraining syndrome (OTS) in last week’s blog. The reason for this is that I suffered with bouts of non-functional overreaching (NFO) and OTS throughout my career. I believe it stunted my progression within sport, at least for a period of 18 months, and it really was a miserable time for me. I’m eager to prevent other athletes from going through what I did, so here is my story. Read more

The Overtraining Syndrome

When we design a training programme for athletes, our ultimate goal is to enable them to perform at their best. Inherent within this, we understand that it might involve some hard work. Indeed, the goal of a training programme is to create a stress on the athlete, which results in acute fatigue. The athlete then undergoes a period of recovery, and during this recovery adapts to the stress. Training, therefore, can be viewed as a constant cycle of stress (training) and rest (recovery). At times, it might be appropriate to bias that cycle one way or the other; during periods of high training load we are deliberately placing more stress on the athlete than they can tolerate – ordinarily this would require an increased rest period, but instead we attenuate that rest period to provide more stress. Again, this is good, and part of the training process. When we then bias the cycle towards rest, such as in a taper, the athletes recover, hopefully get some supercompensation, and performance improves. This is known as functional overreaching, and is an important part of training. Often, performance rebounds from a slightly depressed position during the heavy loading to the improved position after a few weeks. Read more