Running Performance Is Correlated With Creatine Kinase Levels and Muscle Soreness During an Olympic Games in Hockey

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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to compare the GPS and accelerometry-derived running demands, creatine kinase (CK) and self-reported wellness during an Olympic Games in international hockey. Methods: Data was collected across 5 games during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. GPS units (10Hz) were used to assess the running demands, accelerations & decelerations of outfield players in a men’s hockey squad with matches 2-5 compared to match 1. CK was used as a marker of muscle damage and self-reported psychometric questionnaires were used to assess wellness, with each of the 5 matches compared to pre-competition assessments. Results: There were significant increases (p<0.05) in either, or both, absolute and relative total distance, player load, high speed running distance, sprint distance, accelerations & decelerations, compared to baseline. There was a significant decrease (p<0.05) in maximal velocity by match 5. CK significantly increased from match 1-5, and displayed significant correlations with total distance (TD, r=0.55) and player load (PL, r=0.41). Muscle soreness (MS) correlated with TD & PL, with other wellness markers unchanged compared to baseline. Conclusions: International hockey athletes may maintain or increase running activities over the course of an Olympic tournament, however this may be impacted by situational (match score/ outcome) and environmental (ambient temperature) factors. Despite CK and MS displaying relationships with running variables, further work is needed to establish their individual value in monitoring international hockey athletes.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
Early online date11 Mar 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Mar 2021


  • monitoring
  • muscle damage
  • performance
  • recovery
  • tournament


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