Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
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©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2021) 20, 557 - 563   DOI: https://doi.org/10.52082/jssm.2021.557

Research article
Correlation Properties of Heart Rate Variability during a Marathon Race in Recreational Runners: Potential Biomarker of Complex Regulation during Endurance Exercise
Thomas Gronwald1, Bruce Rogers2, Laura Hottenrott3, Olaf Hoos4, Kuno Hottenrott5, 
Author Information
1 Department of Performance, Neuroscience, Therapy and Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, MSH Medical School Hamburg, University of Applied Sciences and Medical University, Am Kaiserkai 1, 20457 Hamburg, Germany
2 Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Central Florida, 6850 Lake Nona Boulevard, Orlando, Florida, 32827-7408, USA
3 Institute of performance diagnostics and health promotion, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Von-Seckendorff-Platz 2, 06120 Halle (Saale), Germany
4 Center for Sports and Physical Education, Julius-Maximilians-University of Wuerzburg, Am Hubland, 97074 Wuerzburg, Germany
5 Institute of Sports Science, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Von-Seckendorff-Platz 2, 06120 Halle (Saale), Germany

Kuno Hottenrott
✉ PhD Institute of Sports Science, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, von-Seckendorff-Platz 2, 06120 Halle (Saale), Germany
Email: kuno.hottenrott@sport.uni-halle.de
Publish Date
Received: 21-01-2021
Accepted: 25-06-2021
Published (online): 01-10-2021
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ABSTRACT

There is only very limited data examining cardiovascular responses in real-world endurance training/competition. The present study examines the influence of a marathon race on non-linear dynamics of heart rate (HR) variability (HRV). Eleven male recreational runners performed a self-paced marathon road race on an almost flat profile. During the race, heart rate and beat-to-beat (RR) intervals were recorded continuously. Besides HRV time-domain measurements, fractal correlation properties using short-term scaling exponent alpha1 of Detrended Fluctuation Analysis (DFA-alpha1) were calculated. The mean finishing time was 3:10:22 ± 0:17:56 h:min:s with a blood lactate concentration of 4.04 ± 1.12 mmol/L at the end of the race. Comparing the beginning to the end segment of the marathon race (Begin vs. End) significant increases could be found for km split time (p < .001, d = .934) and for HR (p = .010, d = .804). Significant decreases could be found for meanRR (p = .013, d = .798) and DFA-alpha1 (p = .003, d = 1.132). DFA-alpha1 showed an appropriate dynamic range throughout the race consisting of both uncorrelated and anti-correlated values. Lactate was consistent with sustained high intensity exercise when measured at the end of the event. Despite the runners slowing after halfway, DFA-alpha1 continued to fall to values seen in the highest intensity domain during incremental exercise testing in agreement with lactate assessment. Therefore, the discrepancy between the reduced running pace with that of the decline of DFA-alpha1, demonstrate the benefit of using this dimensionless HRV index as a biomarker of internal load during exercise over the course of a marathon race.

Key words: Autonomic nervous system, Detrended Fluctuation Analysis, non-linear dynamics, endurance exercise


           Key Points
  • DFA-alpha1 is defined as an indicator of relative internal load and proxy of organismic demands
  • DFA-alpha1 showed a wide dynamic range throughout the marathon race consisting of both uncorrelated and anti-correlated values supporting its ability to finely differentiate internal physiologic status and indicating dynamic modulation processes
  • Lactate as a measure of internal metabolic load was consistent with sustained high intensity exercise when measured at the end of the event
  • The discrepancy between the reduced running pace with that of the decline of DFA-alpha1 and high lactate measures may demonstrate the utility of DFA-alpha1 as a biomarker of internal load over the course of a marathon race showing complex modulatory dynamics with increasing fatigue
 
 
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