Dr. Nick Luden, a 2009 graduate of the PhD program in human bioenergetics program, was the recipient of the Ball State University Alumni Association Distinguished Dissertation Award for 2010. This award recognizes the outstanding doctoral dissertation on an annual basis and Dr. Luden is the third student from the human bioenergetics to receive this award.
Dr. Luden's dissertation, Physiological Adaptations to Taper in Competitive Distance Runners, was directed by Dr. Scott Trappe. This study examined the effects of tapering, or reductions in training at the end of a competitive season in preparation for a major competition, on muscle function and running performance in collegiate distance runners. The major findings from this study included an improvement in race performance, an increase in size and function in fast twitch muscle fibers, and an overall increase in muscle growth relative to breakdown during the taper phase in comparison to heavy training performed earlier in the season. In addition, the reduced training during the taper period had no adverse impact on the overall level of aerobic conditioning. In summary, these results provide a sound scientific basis for distance runners to incorporate a taper phase prior to a major competition. The subsequent scientific paper from this research has been published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, was selected for editorial comment by the editors of the journal, and will be highlighted in the Runner's World magazine.
Currently Dr. Luden is an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at James Madison University where he teaches courses in exercise science. The School of Physical Education, Sport, and Exercise Science congratulates both Dr. Luden and Dr. Trappe on this prestigious honor.
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