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Triathlon science: 4 of the latest research news

1. SOFT AND STRONG
Spent time on the physio’s couch due to a run-related injury? According to Harvard professor Irene Davis, it’s down to stomping rather than floating. Davis and her team recruited 249 female athletes who each ran over 20 miles a week. They investigated the participants’ strides by having them run over a force plate that recorded the impact of each step, and found that the ‘lighter landers’ were injured significantly less. Not only that, weight played no part. You can practise landing softer by running at a higher cadence without changing your pace.

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2. TRAIN HARD, SUCCEED IN LIFE
Want to exceed at everything you do? Well, it’s time to increase your tri training time. Professor Samuele Marcora, who proposed the noted psychobiological model of fatigue, compared the cognitive abilities of 11 professional and nine recreational cyclists. Each set undertook a TT before repeating the effort after a mentally taxing task. Marcora observed that while the AGer’s performance dropped off, the pros weren’t affected. Though largely hereditary, Marcora suggests that willpower and resistance to mental fatigue can be achieved through hard training.

Race fatigue: how to beat it mentally and physically

Mental toughness found to be key to elite cyclists success

   

 3. SLEEP EASY,TRI HARD
As many know, twitchy muscle fibres and restlessness often follow an evening workout. Hugh Fullagar of Oregon University examined the effect of hygiene strategies on the recovery of soccer players following a late-night match. Fullagar ensured the players were in bed as soon as possible post-match with lights dimmed and the option of eye mask and ear plugs; room temp hovered at 17°C; and no light or technological stimulation was allowed 30mins before bedtime. The result? An extra 1:30hrs sleep compared to the players’ normal routines.

Struggle to sleep after exercise?
Six ways to sleep like an athlete
Scientists find sleep deprivation affects athletic performance considerably

   

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 4. EVENING GROWTH
Researchers have deduced that sessions later on in the day could result in greater physical benefits. The team investigated the effects of 24 weeks of morning versus evening combined strength and endurance training on physical performance, muscle hypertrophy and hormonal levels responsible for muscle growth. After the first 12-week block, both groups exhibited similar increases in the cross-sectional area of the quadriceps and their one-rep max. But by week 24 the evening training group showed greater gains in muscle mass.

Heat training could offer same benefits as at altitude