Psychological effects during reduced training volume and intensity in distance runners

Int J Sports Med. 1992 Aug;13(6):497-9. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-1021305.


Improved mood state has ben linked with reduced training (RT). However, RT has been measured only as a reduction in training volume, either maintaining or not considering the intensity of training employed. To investigate the effects of a 4-week reduction in both training volume and intensity on running performance and mood state, 10 well-trained adult male runners trained for 4 weeks at baseline training distance and pace (BT), followed by 4 weeks training reduced in volume by 66%, with intensity diminished so that all workouts were below 70% VO2max. Subjects completed the Profile of Mood States (POMS) before BT (PREBT), before RT (PRERT), and after RT (POSRT). They ran 5 km time trials PRERT and POSRT. Comparisons were made for the positive mood state of Vigor with an average of the values for the 5 negative mood states (NM) of the POMS. Eight of 10 changes from PRERT to POSRT were toward more negative mood. Nine of 10 runners required more time for the 5 km run POSRT than PRERT. Overall, 7 of 10 runners exhibited both an increase in 5 km time and a change toward more negative mood state (p < .004). However, the magnitudes of these changes were unrelated. These results suggest that mood state and running performance may be linked. Moreover, because mood state did not improve, this study suggests that studies dealing with the topic of reduced training should be specific with regard to the influence of both training intensity and volume.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Physical Education and Training / methods*
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Running / physiology
  • Running / psychology*