Recovery following aerobic exercise: modalities and masters runners

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Running performance can be improved by either increasing training workload or improving recovery quality. Improved recovery rate would allow greater training volumes without the negative effects of overtraining. Masters Runners are middle-aged and older subjects whose recovery may be different from younger runners. The first study reviewed the practicality and effectiveness of modalities thought to decrease time to recovery and increase performance following recovery, specifically in aerobic athletes. The bulk of the recovery modality research has been the investigation of the effect of decreasing muscle temperatures to avoid further damage by the inflammatory response, and the application of heat in an attempt to enhance blood flow in hopes of more rapidly moving harmful by-products out of damaged areas. The second and third studies examined the time necessary for 10 Masters runners (5m, 5f) to fully recover from an all-out 5K run. Participants completed four 5km time trials (TT), counterbalanced and separated by 48, 72, and 96 hours of passive recovery. A significantly faster mean run time (p=0.012) was observed for TT96. Some Masters runners (30% in our study) may be able to fully recover after 96 hours of passive rest, while only 10% of our runners recovered after only 48 hours. The rest needed by Masters runners to fully recover from an all-out 5 km appears individualistic. The third study examined recovery achieved after a maximal-effort 5K run after 24 hours of passive recovery with vitamins C and E, protein, and icing therapeutic recovery techniques (TT24Recov). No significant difference was found between BL and TT24Recov (p = 0.45), while TT96 was significantly faster than BL (1451.28 + 196.6 s, p = 0.049). Ninety percent of our Masters runners were fully recovered with 24 hours of passive rest with recovery modalities, or 96 hours of passive rest, only.

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