Environment and Scheduling Effects on Sprint and Middle Distance Running Performances

Abstract : Purpose: Achievement of athletes' performances is related to several factors including physiological, environmental and institutional cycles where physical characteristics are involved. The objective of this study is to analyse the performance achieved in professional sprint and middle-distance running events (100 m to 1500 m) depending on the organization of the annual calendar of track events and their environmental conditions. Methods: From 2002 to 2008, all performances of the Top 50 international athletes in the 100 m to 1500 m races (men and women) are collected. The historical series of world records and the 10 best annual performances in these events, amounted to a total of 26,544 performances, are also included in the study. Results: Two periods with a higher frequency of peak performances are observed. The first peak occurs around the 27.15 th 60.21 week (first week of July) and the second peak around 34.75 th 60.14 week (fourth week of August). The second peak tends to be the time of major international competitions (Olympic Games, World Championships, and European Championships) and could be characterized as an institutional moment. The first one, however, corresponds to an environmental optimum as measured by the narrowing of the temperature range at the highest performance around 23.2563.26uC. Conclusions: This is the first study to demonstrate that there are two performance peaks at a specific time of year (27th and 34th weeks) in sprint and middle distance. Both institutional and ecophysiological aspects contribute to performance in the 100 m to 1500 m best performances and define the contours of human possibilities. Sport institutions may take this into account in order to provide ideal conditions to improve the next records.
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Amal Haïda, Frédéric Dor, Marion Guillaume, Laurent Quinquis, Andy Marc, et al.. Environment and Scheduling Effects on Sprint and Middle Distance Running Performances. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2013, 8 (11), pp.e79548. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0079548⟩. ⟨hal-01772262⟩

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