Branimir B. Radosavljević, Miloš P. Žarković, Svetlana D. Ignjatović, Marijana M. Dijak, Neda Lj. Milinković


Physical effort is known to alter the blood levels of many hormones, but there are only a few studies about the biological changes of salivary hormones. The aim of this work was to determine whether salivary testosterone and salivary cortisol levels, measured two weeks before a half-marathon race, relate to running performance in male recreational athletes. A group of eleven male recreational athletes preparing for a half-marathon was included in the study. Saliva for testosterone and cortisol determinations was collected before and immediately after a 15-km training run, two weeks before the half-marathon. Individual official half-marathon times, expressed in hours, were used as a measure of performance. Mean testosterone concentrations were 1.07±0.33 nmol/l before the run and 0.88±0.35 nmol/l after the run (p<0.05). Mean cortisol concentrations were 12.28±8.46 nmol/l before the run and 38.08±19.63 nmol/l after the run (p<0.05). The pre-run salivary testosterone levels marginally correlated with the corresponding half-marathon running times (p=0.068, 95% bootstrap CI for slope -0.40 to -0.06). However, post-run salivary testosterone levels significantly correlated with the corresponding half-marathon running times (p=0.011, 95% bootstrap CI for slope -0.41 to -0.16), even considering correlations with the runners’ age. Salivary cortisol levels, either pre- or post-run, did not correlate with the corresponding half-marathon running times. The results of this study suggest that post-exercise salivary testosterone levels could have the potential to predict performance in endurance running, at least in recreational athletes.


Key words: salivary hormones; testosterone; recreational athlete; running; age


Received: September 4, 2015; Revised: September 18, 2015; Accepted: September 18, 2015; Published online: May 20, 2016

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