Markers for monitoring overtraining and recovery

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1995 Jan;27(1):106-12.


Physiological and mood state parameters were monitored during a 6-month swimming season in an attempt to determine markers of overtraining and recovery. Fourteen elite male and female swimmers were tested early-, mid-, and late-season and shortly before and after major competition. Training details and subjective ratings of well-being were compiled by the athletes in daily logs. Three swimmers were classified as stale based upon performance deterioration and prolonged, high fatigue levels. Staleness scores were calculated for each athlete using performance change from early- to late-season and daily fatigue ratings for the season. Regression analysis revealed a battery of well-being ratings which predicted staleness scores, accounting for 76% of the variance. The late-season stress ratings and plasma catecholamine levels at rest predicted staleness scores, accounting for 85% of the variance. During tapering, well-being ratings predicted improvement in competitive performance, accounting for 72% of the variance of the improvement in race times from previous best times. It was concluded that self-reported ratings of well-being may provide an efficient means of monitoring both overtraining and recovery; plasma catecholamine levels at rest may provide an additional objective tool for diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Affect / physiology
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Epinephrine / blood
  • Fatigue / blood
  • Fatigue / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Male
  • Neutrophils / cytology
  • Norepinephrine / blood
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Self-Assessment
  • Sleep / physiology
  • Stress, Physiological / blood
  • Stress, Physiological / physiopathology
  • Stress, Psychological / blood
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology*
  • Swimming / physiology*
  • Swimming / psychology*


  • Biomarkers
  • Norepinephrine
  • Epinephrine