Purpose: The high incidence of overreaching/overtraining and its complexity urge for proper identification and prevention. The present longitudinal study investigated the possible link of heart rate variability (HRV), mood and achievement goal approach (AGA) with unexpected performance declines. The latter is characteristic to overreaching. Methods: Twenty-eight novice male and female oarsmen were recruited. AGA (questionnaire), HRV (rest) and performance (max. cycle test) were measured 3 times over 5 months. Mood (Profile of Mood States) was measured up to 4 weeks before –and during the week of the maximum exercise test. Results: General fitness increased (max. cycle test (Tmax), p < .05 and max. oxygen uptake (VO2max), p < .001). Performance increases in men were during the first 6 weeks associated with increased sympathetic activity (LF/HF; Tmax, p < .01; VO2max, p < .05 and LFnu; Tmax, p < .05). A shift towards higher parasympathetic activity was related to increased performance in subsequent weeks (LF/HF; VO2max, p < .01 and LFnu; VO2max, p < .05). Cross-sectional high negative mood showed several associations with high performance in men. High Fatigue in men (VO2max, p < .001) and increased Depression in women (VO2max, p < .05) were related to decreasing performance and showed several longitudinal outcomes. Increases in performance-approach score (VO2max, p < .05) and high Mastery-avoidance scores (VO2max, p < .05) showed associations with high performance in men. Negative relationships between performance and Performance goals were several times observed in women. Conclusion: Most of the associations found symbolized acute stress with normal training effects. However, negative mood profiles lasting for several weeks did predict a performance decline, thereby reflecting the promising characteristics of the POMS as NFO/OTS marker
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