IN a recent study 8 endurance trained participants performed programmed exercised that induce muscle damage ( EIMD) or DOMS as we know it. After the DOMS event the participants were followed for 10 days studying their Vo2max and maximal strength of contraction of quadriceps. What was interestingly found is that soreness in the quadriceps lasted up to 10 days and maximum contraction was significantly reduced up to 4 days. What was even more interesting was that VO2max was reduced 7.4% two days out (not on day one out), and remained reduced in 6 of 8 participants even at 10 days post EIMD. For those of you that follow your VO2max, the real numbers were (55.5 +/- 6.0 VO2max dropping to 51.3 +/- 5.8).That is a pretty big drop! The study didn't correlate the muscle contraction loss causing the drop in VO2max and suggested it was due to other mechanisms.
Now I didn't see a control group in this study, but perhaps we should listen a bit closer to these potential findings. If you have an upcoming race, take this information to heart, or if you are going to run two events close together, remember this study. I do know that Jack Daniels PHD/coach has even gone as far as suggesting doing a 2nd quality workout the day after a race ( race on Saturday and some form of threshold or speed work the day after a race)--if you have another race coming up soon. Perhaps not a bad idea. The theory behind this is that DOMS peaks 24-48 hours later and you might be able to sneak in a quality workout before this occurs. Remember, VO2max did not show a decrease one day later in this study.
Jeff Bangle, DVM
1. Resp Physiol Neurobiol. 2015 Sept 15;216:70-7.