Frontiers in Physiology
Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research / School of Medical and Health Sciences
The aim of the present study was to examine the effect of 1- and 2-day adventure races on cardiac muscle damage and skeletal muscle soreness and function in young athletes. Twelve male trained adolescents (14–15 years) completed both 1-day (48.2 km) and 2-day (66.0 km) races that included trail running, mountain biking, kayaking, and in-line skating separated by 10 weeks. Myocardial damage biomarker concentrations (cTnI and CK-MB), maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) torque, perceived knee extensor (KE) muscle soreness (PMS), and drop and squat jump heights were measured before and after each race. Heart rate was also monitored throughout. Mean heart rate (% cardiac reserve) was higher during the 1-day (66.6 ± 6.4%) than 2-day (62.6 ± 7.8%, p = 0.038) race. The amplitude of cardiac damage biomarker release was also higher following the 1-day than the 2-day race (peak cTnI: 0.14 vs. 0.03 ng/mL, p = 0.045; peak CK-MB: 20.30 vs. 11.98 ng/mL, p = 0.020). However, cardiac biomarker concentrations returned to baseline at 24–48 h post-exercise, except for CK-MB after the 2-day race (p = 0.017). Eight and three participants exceeded the cTnI cut-off for myocardial injury in 1- and 2-day races, respectively, but none exceeded the cut-off for acute myocardial infarction. While there was a significant decrease in drop jump height (−5.9%, p = 0.003), MVIC torque and squat jump height remained unchanged after both races. PMS was increased at 24 h after both races (p < 0.001) but returned to baseline levels by 72 h post-race. In conclusion, the shorter, more intense race produced more cardiac damage, although this probably represents a standard exercise intensity-dependent response rather than pathological response. Skeletal muscle functional and soreness responses were moderate and similar between races.
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