By Dan Bullock
I was at the London Marathon Medical Seminar ahead of the big race and it was quite fascinating. A big revelation for me but it kind of makes sense if you think about it…..there was research on how people while training improved performance if they smiled & frowned less. The lecturer even felt botox might become the next big performance enhancer.
Even just being flashed subliminal 'smiling faces in biking videos while they turbo’d' was enough to improve results. Enhanced mood meant better results, this was clear from some big samples. At a certain session, there is one particular swimmer who never seems happy. I have witnessed this for some time and wondered about mood etc.
"I awarded him a swim hat for some vague reason a few weeks back and he smiled and then went on to have a great session."
In terms of recovery from sessions, the sports scientists offered quite a bit….
Cherry Juice, Massage, Ice baths, compression, etc are all being peer-reviewed and investigated further. This has been of interest in the past few years that more studies are now available and can be collated. Overall views are now being taken from the sum of the studies.
All were of use, and showed on the whole, small gains but there are so many variables. Ie; Ice Bath; At what temp? how long? more effect if lying down or standing in a wheelie bin! Is it significantly better than warmer water? There is so much to investigate. Compression it was felt was not compressing enough to be of much use so buy a size down!
Massage was quite revealing, a rugby team were massaged by familiar males masseurs after a hard week and then tested on 40m sprints the day after. A control group was not massaged.
"Those massaged did improve more than those not."
Another group was massaged by non-familiar masseurs. The improvements in 40m times were better, but not so much as the first group.
A third group were massaged by unfamiliar unqualified pretty young ladies and 40m times were almost as good as the first group!
So in all of this, there is a lot of placebo and belief as to whether or not things work. Sports scientists seemed concerned as they want to know why and how things work, at odds with coaches as they just want to know if it works!
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