Endurance training adaptations in high school runners

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Cole, Andrew S.
Mahon, Anthony D.
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Thesis (M.S.)
School of Physical Education
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This study examined the effects of two distinct phases of endurance training (summer and in-season training) in previously well-trained male and female high school cross-country runners. Eleven males and 11 females from the same high school training program were recruited for the three testing sessions: post-track season (June), postsummer training (mid-August), and post-cross-country season (early-November). However, due to injury and other circumstances, only 10 males and 4 females completed all testing sessions. Thus, baseline characteristics were analyzed for both genders; however, longitudinal analysis was only conducted using the males. Submaximal measurements included running economy (RE), blood lactate concentration ([BLa]), and heart rate (HR) at three running speeds in females (6, 7, and 8 mph), and males (7, 8, and 9 mph). Maximal measurements of oxygen uptake (VO2max) and HR, neuromuscular characteristics of isokinetic knee extension strength and vertical jump height, and body composition were also measured. Baseline results showed that the males possessed a higher VO2max, greater neuromuscular characteristics, and lower submaximal [BLa] and HR values than the females. Longitudinal analysis of the males showed that there was an increased VO2max, decreased maximal HR, and decreased neuromuscular strength following summer training. In-season training precipitated further increases in VO2max, an increase in maximal and submaximal HR, and increased neuromuscular characteristics. RE and [BLa] did not significantly change (p<_ 0.05) throughout the course of the study. Likely, it is the subtle changes in these variables in previously welltrained runners which account for the slower performance times at the beginning of the cross-country season and the improvements thereafter.