Sports Medicine

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 306–311

Physiological Regulation of Marathon Performance

Conference Paper

DOI: 10.2165/00007256-200737040-00009

Cite this article as:
Coyle, E.F. Sports Med (2007) 37: 306. doi:10.2165/00007256-200737040-00009


Running a marathon at the fastest speed possible appears to be regulated by the rate of aerobic metabolism (i.e. marathon oxygen uptake) of a limited amount of carbohydrate energy (i.e. muscle glycogen and blood glucose) and the velocity that can be maintained without developing hyperthermia. According to a model proposed by Joyner in 1991, people possess the physiological ability to run a marathon in ≈1:58:00. This could be accomplished if the current world record pace for the ‘half-marathon’ is maintained for the entire marathon. The ultimate limit to marathon performance might be dictated by the limits of running economy and a recruitment of the running musculature with a pattern that minimises fatigue, possibly by spreading the work over many motor neuron.

Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Kinesiology and Health EducationThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA