MESSAGE FROM MUSTAPHA LARFAOUI
It is my pleasure to welcome all the delegates in Manchester (GBR) for the 16th FINA World Sports Medicine Congress, to be held on April 7-8, 2008.
Since the first FINA Sports Medicine Congress, which took place in 1969 in London, the conferences and presentations submitted during the last 15 editions represent a source of information that continues to be useful to our athletes, coaches, clubs and Federations.
Three goals preside to this initiative:
- To preserve and if possible to improve the athletes’ health;
- To ensure their physical and mental condition through a harmonious activity;
- To maintain, whenever possible, the equality of chances between competitors
Our Federation is proud of being one of the few International Sport Federations that, for so many years, carried out a policy of information and exchange of knowledge and ideas in the wide field of sports medicine.
Being also one of the FINA’s goals to disseminate and accelerate the participation of young competitors in our sport, it is of relevant importance to detect, correct and prevent the health or injuries problems that are inevitably associated with the practice of any physical activity.
This year, I particularly salute Professor Arne Ljungqvist, IOC Member in Sweden, WADA Vice-President, and Chairman of both the IOC Medical Commission and the WADA Health, Medical & Research Committee. We thank him for accepting being the presenter of the 2008 Bleasdale Memorial Lecture.
I also address FINA’s gratitude to the Organisers of this Congress in Manchester (GBR), but also to all members of the FINA Sports Medicine Committee under the efficient leadership of Dr Margo Mountjoy.
I am sure that our 194 FINA Member National Federations will benefit from this debate. Our main goal is to be useful to them.
To all of you I wish a fruitful Congress and a nice stay in this lively city.
Performance modeling and tapering
Dr Iñigo Mujika
Iñigo Mujika earned Ph.D.s in Biology of Muscular Exercise (University of Saint-Etienne, France) and Physical Activity and Sport Sciences (University of The Basque Country). He is also a Level III Swimming and Triathlon Coach and coaches Olympic, Ironman and XTerra World Class triathletes. His main research interests in the field of applied sport science include training methods and recovery from exercise, tapering, detraining and overtraining. He has also performed extensive research on the physiological aspects of professional cycling. He received research fellowships in Australia, France and South Africa, published nearly 70 publications in peer reviewed journals and over 10 book chapters, and has given over 90 lectures and communications in international conferences and meetings. Iñigo was Senior Physiologist at the Australian Institute of Sport in 2003 and 2004. In 2005 he was the physiologist and trainer for the Euskaltel Euskadi professional cycling team and since 2006 he is a sport scientist/physiologist at Athletic Club Bilbao professional football club. He is also Associate Editor for the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance and Associate Lecturer at the University of the Basque Country.
Performance modelling and tapering
Mathematical analysis of the relationship between training and performance has contributed to the understanding of the effects of tapering on performance. This type of model analysis is based on systems theory. The system is an entity characterized by at least one input and one output, which are related by a mathematical law called transfer function. The output corresponds to the system’s response to the stimuli represented by the input, and the transfer function characterizes the behaviour of the system, on the basis of parameters estimated from real life observations. When applied to athletic performance, this type of mathematical modelling intends to describe training responses based on a whole-body-approach that considers performance as the system’s output, which varies according to past training, which of course represents the system’s input. Various studies have indicated that the development of such mathematical models can contribute to a better understanding of the effects of tapering and optimizing athletic performance.
This type of application has been specifically used to explain the taper-induced gains in swimming performance and estimate the optimal duration of the taper. This approach was also used to establish that a progressive reduction of training can be more effective than a step reduction in triathletes. Another possible application is the simulation of changes in performance for variations in training other than that actually done. A recent computer simulation study on elite swimmers showed that an overload period before the taper is essential to maximize performance, but imposes specific requirements during the taper period. A progressive taper is preferable to a step taper after prior overload training, but it should last nearly twice as long as the step taper. Another computer simulation tested the hypothesis that a two-phase taper with a final increase in the training load at the end of the taper is more effective than a traditional linear taper. The available data on performance modeling confirm the relevance of the modeling approach in the study of individual responses to training and the optimisation of tapering strategies.