Competing in hot conditions at the Tokyo Olympic Games : Preparation strategies used by Australian race walkers
Carr, Amelia J., Vallance, Brent S., Rothwell, Jessica, Rea, Anna E., Burke, Louise M. and Guy, Joshua H.. (2022). Competing in hot conditions at the Tokyo Olympic Games : Preparation strategies used by Australian race walkers. Frontiers in Physiology. 13, p. Article 836858. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2022.836858
|Authors||Carr, Amelia J., Vallance, Brent S., Rothwell, Jessica, Rea, Anna E., Burke, Louise M. and Guy, Joshua H.|
Introduction: The Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games was anticipated to expose athletes to the most challenging climatic conditions experienced in the history of the modern Olympic Games. This study documents strategies executed by Australian endurance athletes during the team holding camp and Olympic Games experiences, including (1) baseline physiological data, training data, and heat acclimation/acclimatization practices; (2) pre- and in-race cooling and nutritional strategies, and (3) Olympic Games race performance data.
Methods: Six athletes (three males, three females; age 24 ± 4 years; VO2max 63.2 ± 8.7 mL⋅kg–1⋅min–1; sum of 7 skinfolds 53.1 ± 23.4 mm) were observed prior to and during the team holding camp held in Cairns, QLD, Australia. Athletes completed 6–7 weeks of intermittent heat acclimation training, utilizing a combination of 2–4 passive and active acclimation sessions per week. Active acclimation was systematically increased via exposure time, exercise intensity, temperature, and humidity. In the team holding camp, athletes undertook a further 23 heat acclimatization training sessions over 18 days in a continuous fashion. Hyperhydration (using sodium and glycerol osmolytes), and internal and external pre-and in-race cooling methods were also utilized. A low energy availability intervention was implemented with two athletes, as a strategy to periodize ideal race body composition. Race performance data and environmental conditions from the 2021 Olympic Games were also documented.
Results: The highest values for aerobic capacity were 63.6 mL⋅kg–1⋅min–1 for female race walkers and 73.7 mL⋅kg–1⋅min–1 for males. Training volume for the six athletes was the highest in the second week of the team holding camp, and training intensity was lowest in the first week of the team holding camp. Performance outcomes included 6th place in the women’s 20 km event (1:30:39), which was within 2% of her 20 km personal best time, and 8th place in the men’s 50 km event (3:52:01), which was a personal best performance time.
Conclusion: Periodized training, heat acclimation/acclimatization, cooling and nutritional strategies study may have contributed to the race outcomes in Olympic Games held hot, humid conditions, for the race walkers within this observational study.
|Keywords||Tokyo 2021; heat acclimation; heat acclimatization; passive heat exposure; hyperhydration; periodized nutrition|
|Journal||Frontiers in Physiology|
|Journal citation||13, p. Article 836858|
|Publisher||Frontiers Research Foundation|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)||https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2022.836858|
|PubMed Central ID||PMC8983867|
|Open access||Published as ‘gold’ (paid) open access|
|Central Queensland University (CQUniversity)|
File Access Level
|Online||23 Mar 2022|
|Publication process dates|
|Accepted||21 Feb 2022|
|Deposited||03 Feb 2023|
|License: CC BY 4.0|
|File access level: Open|
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