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Drafting improves 3000 m running performance in elite athletes : is it a placebo effect ?

Abstract : Purpose - To determine the effect of drafting on running time, physiological response, and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) during 3000-m track running. Methods - Ten elite middle- and long-distance runners performed 3 track-running sessions. The 1st session determined maximal oxygen uptake and maximal aerobic speed using a lightweight ambulatory respiratory gas-exchange system (K4B2). The 2nd and the 3rd tests consisted of nondrafting 3000-m running (3000-mND) and 3000-m running with drafting for the 1st 2000 m (3000-mD) performed on the track in a randomized counterbalanced order. Results - Performance during the 3000-mND (553.59±22.15 s) was significantly slower (P<.05) than during the 3000-mD (544.74±18.72 s). Cardiorespiratory responses were not significantly different between the trials. However, blood lactate concentration was significantly higher (P<.05) after the 3000-mND (16.4±2.3 mmol/L) than after the 3000-mD (13.2±5.6 mmol/L). Athletes perceived the 3000-mND as more strenuous than the 3000-mD (P<.05) (RPE=16.1±0.8 vs 13.1±1.3). Results demonstrate that drafting has a significant effect on performance in highly trained runners. Conclusion - This effect could not be explained by a reduced energy expenditure or cardiorespiratory effort as a result of drafting. This raises the possibility that drafting may aid running performance by both physiological and nonphysiological (ie, psychological) effects.
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https://hal-univ-rennes1.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01159324
Contributor : Laurent Jonchère <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, June 3, 2015 - 11:10:17 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, April 23, 2020 - 3:58:02 PM

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Hassane Zouhal, A Ben Abderrahman, Jacques Prioux, B Knechtle, L Bouguerra, et al.. Drafting improves 3000 m running performance in elite athletes : is it a placebo effect ?. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, Human Kinetics, 2015, 10 (2), pp.147-152. ⟨10.1123/ijspp.2013-0498⟩. ⟨hal-01159324⟩

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