A female runner, using the advise of a sports cardiologist

Compex Meets... Dr Thierry Laporte, Sports Cardiologist in Bordeaux. Head of Pôle Activité Santé Hôpital Bagatelle.

Dr Thierry Laporte assisted us with putting together our Marathon Training Plan.

The Role of a Sports Cardiologist

Sports cardiology is a rapidly evolving domain focusing on the healthcare of athletes and physically active individuals, addressing both diagnosed and undiagnosed cardiovascular conditions. A sports cardiologist must integrate various cardiological specialties, including cardiac imaging, electrophysiology, structural heart disease, and exercise physiology.

It has been almost 20 years since I started using VO2 max assessment tests and training thresholds on runners and cyclists. As a Sports Cardiologist, it is exciting that from an individual’s data it is possible to offer a customised training program.

Marathon Training and Recovery Tips

As well as a heart-rate monitor, I often recommend using electrical muscle stimulation; EMS provides a useful compliment to conventional training sessions, particularly in the following uses:

A female athlete recovering her quad muscles, as advised by a sports cardiologist

Use #1 - Recovery

After intense ‘qualitative’ sessions, usually involving a 30/30 split (30 seconds on, 30 seconds off resting) or after a session at threshold, using the ‘Training Recovery’ program can speed up the recovery process. The program helps to re-build muscles, and thus empowers athletes to train again the next day without qualitative or quantitative accumulative fatigue. This reduces the risk of over-training.

Use #2 - Muscle Conditioning

The ‘Endurance’ program is not a substitution for a conventional long run session. However, it helps to prepare the muscles stimulated during the active session. Compex stimulation can shorten the duration of a session by 30 minutes, limiting the musculoskeletal fatigue while maintaining the same muscle charge. Even in exceptional circumstances, such as poor weather or geographical impossibility, the complete ‘Endurance’ program can mitigate the adverse consequences of missing a session

A male athlete conditioning his quad muscles, as advised by a sports cardiologist

Example #3 - Increasing Bloodflow in Tapering Phase

I recommend to reduce the training workload in the days leading up to the competition. In this case, I advise using the ‘Capillarisation’ program every 2 days, 10 days before the race. This program increases the blood flow, thereby improving the muscular efficiency during an endurance effort. It also has an advantage in preventing additional muscle fatigue. The ‘Capillarisation’ session can be integrated on a weekly training schedule in alternation with a muscle-strengthening session. There is an drastic improvement in stride-efficiency the days following 'Capillarisation'. This is easy to track with a heart rate monitor; the runner will see an increase in speed whilst keeping the same heart-rate level.

Use #4 - Injury Rehabilitation

The other area in which muscle stimulation is beneficial is for a prolonged immobilization. This could be as a result of a disease, muscle or tendon injury or after an accident or trauma. In all of the above cases, immobilisation will result in atrophy and physical degeneration. Electrical muscle stimulation programs like ‘Reinforcement’ or ‘Muscle Atrophy’ (if atrophy is present), used on a daily basis, will limit the adverse consequences of ceasing to train. Keep in mind that it takes twice the length of time incapacitated to recover the former muscle strength and condition.

Compex - Always with you

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