Biomarkers are biological indicators of internal conditions. They're not new and we've all been tested at some point.  A basic blood test by your doctor can measure a variety of things - red and white blood cells, kidney function, hormonal status for example. 

When you measure it, you can manage it. It's a fundamental part of our medical system and it's a fundamental part of performance.

You probably already measure markers of performance like heart rate, power output,  % body fat, anaerobic threshold and calorie burn and you use them to make all sorts of decisions around training, nutrition and recovery.

And if you're like Joe you'll also be obsessive about bike fit, measuring down to the last millimetre, the point being to translate every watt of power into forward motion.

Every detail is vital when you go the kind of distances we all go. Small gains become hugely significant as do small errors. 

So why measure endurance biomarkers? And why Forth Edge?

1. Testing biomarkers for endurance is a new frontier and Forth Edge is stand alone in their specific groupings of endurance biomarkers. We used the Endurance Plus test which includes morning cortisol, C-Reactive Protein, Creatine Kinase, Vit D, Haematocrit.....and a whole host of other markers.

Each marker tells you something about cardiovascular, muscular, metabolic or nutritional status. But put together as a profile the data becomes much more valuable. Are you in a state of muscular inflammation or degradation? Is the stress load of training greater than your ability to adapt? What is your oxygen carrying capability and are there underlying nutritional deficiencies?

A single Endurance Plus test can't answer these questions but regular testing every couple of months, particularly in preparation for a significant race (say the non-stop 2000+ kilometre Race Around Ireland) allows you to assess and target training, nutrition and recovery. This is the kind of data that really counts because you can identify specific gaps and intervene quickly.

A couple of examples, Joe's test confirmed our thinking that we needed to begin the taper for Race Around Ireland to give him some extra time to integrate his last very intense training block. Tapering is a delicate business and we're more confident that we'll get it right.

We also got the great news that Joe's oxygen carrying capacity is at full gas. That's the kind of information you want to give an athlete as he prepares for a big start line.

2. Forth Edge have created a simple, easy, cost effective and hassle free home test. It's quick and painless. All you have to do is collect a small amount of blood, label correctly and pop it in the mail. The results are posted online in your confidential profile within days which means within days you can start to apply targeted nutritional or training strategies if necessary.

3. Team Joe Barr have already said that there is no prescription. The only data that really counts is your data because you are biologically and biochemically unique. You have unique patterns of training adaptation and recovery and unique nutritional ranges. Regular testing of the same biomarkers will help identify what really works for you and therefore how to create your best performance and recovery.

4. We are thrilled to say that our new partnership between Forth Edge & Team Joe Barr means that when you sign up for one of their races, either The Team Joe Barr 200 or The Joe Barr 500 you will receive a £20 off voucher for your first Endurance Plus Test. And if you sign up now you'll get 20% off your race entry fee as well (until Oct 15th).


Check out the Team Joe Barr 200 and The Joe Barr 500 at racejoebarr.com

This article was written by Performance Nutritionist, Jillian Mooney for Team Joe Barr and permitted us to share her article.