Sports Medicine

, Volume 48, Issue 5, pp 1049–1058 | Cite as

Running Performance, \({\rm V}{\rm O}_{\rm {2max}}\), and Running Economy: The Widespread Issue of Endogenous Selection Bias

  • Nicolai T. Borgen
Review Article


Studies in sport and exercise medicine routinely use samples of highly trained individuals in order to understand what characterizes elite endurance performance, such as running economy and maximal oxygen uptake (\({\rm V}{\rm O}_{\mathrm {2max}}\)). However, it is not well understood in the literature that using such samples most certainly leads to biased findings and accordingly potentially erroneous conclusions because of endogenous selection bias. In this paper, I review the current literature on running economy and \({\rm V}{\rm O}_{\mathrm {2max}}\), and discuss the literature in light of endogenous selection bias. I demonstrate that the results in a large part of the literature may be misleading, and provide some practical suggestions as to how future studies may alleviate endogenous selection bias.



The author thanks Solveig T. Borgen, and two anonymous reviewers for useful comments and suggestions.

Compliance with Ethical Standards


No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this article.

Conflict of interest

Nicolai T. Borgen declares that he has no conflict of interest relevant to the content of this review.

Supplementary material

40279_2017_789_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (158 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 158 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Human GeographyUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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