Training distress and performance readiness: laboratory and field validation of a brief self-report measure

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2014 Dec;24(6):e483-490. doi: 10.1111/sms.12214. Epub 2014 Mar 20.


Three studies were conducted to validate the Training Distress Scale (TDS), a 19-item measure of training-related distress and performance readiness. Study 1 was a randomized, controlled laboratory experiment in which a treatment group undertook daily interval training until a 25% decrement occurred in time-to-fatigue performance. Comparisons with a control group showed that TDS scores increased over time within the treatment group but not in the control group. Study 2 was a randomized, controlled field investigation in which performance capabilities and TDS responses were compared across a high-intensity interval training group and a control group that continued normal training. Running performance decreased significantly in the training group but not in the control group, and scores on the TDS mirrored those changes in performance capabilities. Study 3 examined the relationship between TDS scores obtained over a 2-week period before major swimming competitions and subsequent performance in those competitions. Significantly, better performance was observed for swimmers with low TDS scores compared with those with moderate or high TDS scores. These findings provide both laboratory and field evidence for the validity of the TDS as a measure of short-term training distress and performance readiness.

Keywords: Overtraining; sport; staleness; stress; workload.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Appetite
  • Athletic Performance / psychology*
  • Attention
  • Child
  • Fatigue / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Myalgia / psychology
  • Physical Conditioning, Human / psychology*
  • Physical Exertion
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Running / physiology
  • Running / psychology
  • Self Report*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis*
  • Swimming / physiology
  • Swimming / psychology
  • Young Adult