In this Issue:
you've put in a below-average performance in a race recently, these 18
questions could help you find out why:
1. Were you rested
enough 48 hours before the race?
2. Were you travel-weary on the day?
3. Did your last meal before the race have enough time to be digested?
4. Did your last meal before the race contain gaseous food - egg, for
instance? Did you have your usual warm-up? Did you have a race plan? Was
this carried out as planned? If not, why not?
5. Did you taper for this race?
6. If the race was in excess of lOK, did you take in extra carbohydrate
for the past 72 hours?
7. If the race was in excess of 10 miles and the temperature above 70
degrees F, did you take on board adequate fluid replacement?
8. Did you feel tired as you lined up for this race in spite of 48 hours
rest? To what did you attribute this tiredness?
9. Have you suffered recently from pins-and- needles in the feet and
hands, or numbness in the feet? If so, you should have a comprehensive
blood test for iron and magnesium deficiency.
10. Have you suffered from frequent infections during the past six
weeks? If so, you may have a zinc deficiency in your diet.
11. Did you practise visualisation for this race? This involves being
alone in a state of quietness, and first, watching yourself running in
the race, then second, being IN the race and actually taking in
everything involved, such as crowd noise, sound of running feet, and
carrying out your plan.
12. What was your mental state before this race? Being nervous is a
natural reaction to being tested, both physically and mentally. Was your
nervousness excessive? If so, did you try to think positively by telling
yourself what your race plan was and firmly establishing in your mind
how you were going to carry it out?
13. Did you feel before this race that your training was adequate both
in quantity and quality? If not, what facet of it do you think was
lacking? If you had some misgivings, and if coached, did you express
your doubts to your coach? If not, why not?
14. Do you think your coach understands the needs of your event? Do you
think he or she understands your capabilities and goals? Are you
over-trained or under-trained?
15. Have you in your own mind a clear idea of what is required in
training for your event? Do you know the physiological breakdown of your
event - in other words, what is aerobic and what is anaerobic, what
aerobic training involves and what anaerobic?
16. Are you over-stressed in your non-athletics life? You may work
full-time - do you consider this a hindrance to your athletics progress?
If so, is it possible for you to become a full-time athlete or a
17. If you feel over-stressed other than by a full- time job, can you
pinpoint stresses and take active steps to reduce them?
18. Most athletes have a bee in their bonnet about some aspect of their
preparation - it may be more speed, more mileage, or even less of both.
Have you such a bee in your own bonnet? If so, have you discussed it
with your coach?
Peak Performance be your own 'personal coach'...
Performance is the world's leading training newsletter. It can
give you the same information as the world's top coaches and
competitors - the ones that come back with medals and trophies
from international events.
In each issue you'll discover new and tested techniques that
coaches and sports therapists are currently using to extend the
limits of athletic achievement. These are for you to use in your
out for free just how Peak Performance can help you beat your
own personal bests.
through the pain
Athletes can safely
train through the pain of exercise-induced muscle damage because the
damage is not made worse nor recovery delayed by repeated bouts of the
That's the encouraging conclusion of a Taiwanese study investigating the
effects of seven-day eccentric training on muscle damage and
The researchers were testing the theory that performing the same bout of
eccentric training every day for six days after an initial bout of
unaccustomed exercise would exacerbate inflammatory response and muscle
injury at an early stage of the repair process and therefore hinder
Their study involved 22 college-age males, randomly assigned to either
an eccentric training or a control group. On the first day of the study,
all the subjects performed a bout of maximal isokinetic voluntary
eccentric exercise with the elbow flexors of their non-dominant arm on
an exercise machine.
Subsequently the training group performed exactly the same set of
exercises for each of the following six days, while the control group
were allowed to rest their aching muscles.
The researchers measured a range of indicators of muscle damage and
inflammatory response before and immediately after the first bout of
exercise and then every 24 hours for seven consecutive days for both
Surprisingly perhaps, there were no significant differences between the
training and control groups in the following indicators:
- Muscle function. Maximal isometric force dropped significantly to
about 42% of its pre-exercise value immediately after the first bout
of exercise and then started to regain some strength, although it
was still not completely restored by the end of the study;
- Range of motion. There was a significant decrease for both groups
after the first bout of exercise, followed by a gradual recovery
from day 3;
- Muscle soreness. For both groups soreness developed one day after
the first exercise bout, was sustained for three days and then
gradually diminished so it was almost back to baseline by day 7;
- Arm circumference. This measure of inflammation increased
gradually in both groups from immediately after the first bout of
exercise to day 5, then started to subside for both groups;
- Biochemical markers of muscle damage, including enzyme and
The major finding
about the exercise group was that they were unable to work as hard on
days 2-7 as they had on day 1.
Total work values for days 2-7 were only 69%, 65%, 57%, 70%, 72% and 73%
respectively of those on day 1.
The researchers are unable to provide a watertight explanation for their
findings, but they speculate that an adaptation takes place in response
to the initial injury which then acts to protect the active muscles.