Monitoring endurance athletes: a multidisciplinary approach

Research output: Ph.D. ThesisPhD Research internal, graduation external


Endurance athletes seek for the optimal balance in training stress and recovery so they can perform at their best and avoid injuries. The PhD thesis of Ruby Otter at the School of Sport Studies (Hanze University of Applied Sciences) and the Center of Human Movement Sciences (UMCG, University of Groningen) showed that not only physical stress and recovery, but also psychosocial stress and recovery influence performance and injury risk of endurance athletes. During the research project, 115 endurance athletes have been monitored for two years. The athletes kept a daily training log including information about any injuries. Every 1 to 3 weeks the athletes filled out a psychosocial stress and recovery questionnaire and they came into the SportsFieldLab Groningen to perform exercise tests every 6 weeks. Results showed that an increase in stress and a decrease in recovery are associated to decreased performance parameters. An unplanned negative life event disturbed perceived psychosocial stress and recovery over a relatively short period and it impaired performance parameters of runners. In addition, the risk of sustaining an injury increased after increased relative training loads (physical stress). Finally, a new submaximal rowing test has shown to be reliable and practical for predicting maximal performance of rowers. The findings in this thesis support the notion that psychosocial as well as physical stress and recovery play a role in performance changes of endurance athletes. Athletes and coaches could benefit from monitoring physical and psychosocial factors so that training programs can be adapted for each individual.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Brink, Michel, Supervisor
  • Lemmink, Koen, Supervisor
  • Diercks, Ron, Supervisor, External person
Print ISBNs978-90-367-8728-4
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • sport
  • athletes
  • endurance


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