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Relationships of marathon running to physiological, anthropometric and training indices

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This study was aimed at investigating the relationships between marathon performance time (MPT) and a set of variables wider in scope than that used to date in similar studies. Sixteen marathon runners of varying abilities were examined for the following variables prior to the start of a marathon race: age, weight (wt); height (ht); triceps, abdominal and subscapular (SSF) skinfolds; % fat; rectal temperature; average weekly training distance over the preceding 2–3 months and over the preceding year (ATD); hematocrit; creatine phosphokinase (CPK); aldosterone and cortisol. MPT's ranged between 2; 15:21 and 4; 54:31 h. The coefficients of the simple linear correlations with MPT were: age, 0.70; wt·ht−2, 0.57; SSF, 0.67; % fat, 0.61; ATD, −0,64; CPK, 0.52 and cortisol, −0.41. In order of relative strength, CPK, age, ATD, SSF and cortisol were found by a multiple linear regression analysis to be the best predictors of MPT (R=0.99; p<0.0001) — explaning 98% of its observed variance. The diversified approach may be supported by the high R value obtained. However, the significance of additional factors in determining MPT is expected and cannot be excluded.

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Correspondence to R. Dotan.

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Supported by a research grant from the Sports and Physical Education Autority of the Ministry of Education and Culture

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Dotan, R., Rotstein, A., Dlin, R. et al. Relationships of marathon running to physiological, anthropometric and training indices. Europ. J. Appl. Physiol. 51, 281–293 (1983).

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Key words

  • Marathon running
  • Training
  • Anthropometry
  • Biochemistry
  • Performance prediction