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Physiological and Race Pace Characteristics of Medium and Low-Level Athens Marathon Runners

Authors
  • Myrkos, Aristides1
  • Smilios, Ilias1
  • Kokkinou, Eleni Maria1
  • Rousopoulos, Evangelos
  • Douda, Helen1
  • 1 (H.D.)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Sports
Publisher
MDPI
Publication Date
Aug 21, 2020
Volume
8
Issue
9
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3390/sports8090116
PMID: 32825626
PMCID: PMC7552741
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

This study examined physiological and race pace characteristics of medium- (finish time < 240 min) and low-level (finish time > 240 min) recreational runners who participated in a challenging marathon route with rolling hills, the Athens Authentic Marathon. Fifteen athletes (age: 42 ± 7 years) performed an incremental test, three to nine days before the 2018 Athens Marathon, to determine maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max), maximal aerobic velocity (MAV), energy cost of running (ECr) and lactate threshold velocity (vLTh), and were analyzed for their pacing during the race. Moderate- ( n = 8) compared with low-level ( n = 7) runners had higher ( p < 0.05) VO2 max (55.6 ± 3.6 vs. 48.9 ± 4.8 mL·kg−1·min−1), MAV (16.5 ± 0.7 vs. 14.4 ± 1.2 km·h−1) and vLTh (11.6 ± 0.8 vs. 9.2 ± 0.7 km·h−1) and lower ECr at 10 km/h (1.137 ± 0.096 vs. 1.232 ± 0.068 kcal·kg−1·km−1). Medium-level runners ran the marathon at a higher percentage of vLTh (105.1 ± 4.7 vs. 93.8 ± 6.2%) and VO2 max (79.7 ± 7.7 vs. 68.8 ± 5.7%). Low-level runners ran at a lower percentage ( p < 0.05) of their vLTh in the 21.1–30 km (total ascent/decent: 122 m/5 m) and the 30–42.195 km (total ascent/decent: 32 m/155 m) splits. Moderate-level runners are less affected in their pacing than low-level runners during a marathon route with rolling hills. This could be due to superior physiological characteristics such as VO2 max, ECr, vLTh and fractional utilization of VO2 max. A marathon race pace strategy should be selected individually according to each athlete’s level.

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