The study examined whether individually-adjusted endurance training based on recovery and training status would lead to greater adaptations compared to a predefined program.
To test this, recreational runners were divided into two categories: predefined and individualised training groups. In the latter, the training load was decreased, maintained or increased twice a week based on nocturnal heart rate variability, perceived recovery, and heart rate-running speed index. Both groups performed three-week preparatory, six-week volume and six-week interval periods. Incremental treadmill tests and 10 km running tests were performed.
Subjective recovery was estimated daily. Muscle soreness of the lower limbs, fatigue, sleep quality, and stress were ranked with scale 1-7, with 4 being normal. These items were analysed separately and sum index was calculated which was defined as the “staleness score”. Recovery was estimated in the morning before any exercise via the Coach4Pro mobile application.
The study concluded that both groups induced positive training adaptations, but the individualised training seemed more beneficial in endurance performance. Moreover, individualised training increased the likelihood of high response and decreased the occurrence of low response to endurance training.
Research group: Olli-Pekka, Nuuttila; Ari, Nummela; Elisa, Korhonen; Keijo, Häkkinen; Heikki, Kyröläinen