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[RC] Exercise load/illness - Ridecamp Guest

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Authors PA Fricker, DB Pyne, PU Saunders, AJ Cox, M Gleeson, RD Telford
Title   Influence of training loads on patterns of illness in elite distance 
Full source     Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 2005, Vol 15, Iss 4, pp 

Objective: To investigate relationships between training mileage and intensity, 
and the type, incidence, severity, and duration of respiratory illness in 
distance runners, and the impact of illness on submaximal and maximal running 
perfon-nance. Design: A longitudinal observational study of distance runners 
with serial monitoring of training loads and clinical patterns of illness. 
Setting: A 4-month winter training period in the Southern Hemisphere. 
Participants: A total of 20 highly trained (elite) male middle-distance and 
distance runners competing at the national and international levels. Main 
Outcome Measures: Training was quantified by mileage (km), intensity (scale, 
1-5), and load (volume X intensity). Symptoms and signs of respiratory illness 
(type, duration, and severity) were verified by a physician at a weekly review. 
Performance was monitored by measuring submaximal and maximal oxygen uptake and 
time to exhaustion on a incremental treadmill test. Results: A majority of 
subjects (15/20) experienced 1 or more episodes of respiratory illness (mean, 
2.5 episodes; range, 1-5), with 79% of symptoms classified as upper respiratory 
in origin. There were no significant differences in mean weekly mileage (P = 
0.43), training intensity (P = 0.85), or training load (P = 0.45) between 
healthy runners and those affected by illness. Mean weekly (88  46 km) and mean 
monthly (373  163 km) mileages prior to each episode of illness were similar to 
the overall study means (95.5  36.4 km and 382  146 km). There were no 
substantial relationships between mean weekly training mileage, intensity, or 
training load and the number of illnesses reported (all r < 0.20). Neither 
submaximal nor maximal running performance was significantly affected by the 
presence of illness. Conclusions: Differences in training mileage, intensity, 
and load were not associated with the incidence of respiratory illness in 
highly trained middle-distance and distance runners. Runners with mild illness 
can be reassured that symptoms will not necessarily impair submaximal and 
maximal performance.

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