Negative training responses during the runners' career could cooperate in an early career termination: a case study in top-level female runners from the Slovakian National Team

Investor logo


Year of publication 2022
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Studia Sportiva
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Sports Studies

Keywords early specialization; overtraining syndrome; female and male atheltic triads; relative energy deficiency; eating disorders; athletes
Description Purpose: The early career drop-out in professional youth athletes is a complex and multi factors process and seems to be more common in individual sports with higher physical demands, such as running disciplines. The present study, therefore, investigated the training responses during the career of top-level female runners who terminated it early. Methods: Data from four female runners (aged from 22 to 24 years) from the Slovakian national team in running disciplines who have ended their careers early were collected. A semi-structured interview was performed to explore multiple factors (e.g., athletic career, training routine, training camps, racing, performance, recovery, nutrition sleep, health, motivation, psychological responses, relationship with coach, parents and friends, financial support, present status, and future plans) and by questionnaires about wellness, motivation, mental exhaustion and low energy availability. Results: The interview shows that the most common factors reported by the former runners were: early specialization, inadequate training dose-response (e.g., high intensity and insufficient recovery), pathological nutritional behaviour, health problems, psychological factors, and loss of motivation. The factors reported during the interview were associated with negative results of the wellness questionnaire (score 10 ± 1.9) and low energy availability (score 12 ± 2.9). Conclusion: The study highlights the negative training responses during the runners’ career and it could trigger an early career termination. Based on the athletes’ reports, was possible to notice that the early sports specialization in running disciplines affected negatively their health, nutrition and psychological aspects, and could be due to higher training loads and insufficient recovery. Caution should be taken by coaches and professionals involved during the sports specialization, in order to minimize the negative impact of training routines on youth athletes and consequently avoid an early drop-out. © Masaryk University. All Rights Reserved.
Related projects:

You are running an old browser version. We recommend updating your browser to its latest version.

More info