Does Muscle Mass Affect Running Times in Male Long-distance Master Runners?
ABSTRACT The aim of the present study was to investigate associations between skeletal muscle mass, body fat and training characteristics with running times in master athletes (age > 35 years) in half-marathon, marathon and ultra-marathon.
We compared skeletal muscle mass, body fat and training characteristics in master half-marathoners (n=103), master marathoners (n=91) and master ultra-marathoners (n=155) and investigated associations between body composition and training characteristics with race times using bi- and multi-variate analyses.
After multi-variate analysis, body fat was related to half-marathon (β=0.9, P=0.0003), marathon (β=2.2, P<0.0001), and ultra-marathon (β=10.5, P<0.0001) race times. In master half-marathoners (β=-4.3, P<0.0001) and master marathoners (β=-11.9, P<0.0001), speed during training was related to race times. In master ultra-marathoners, however, weekly running kilometers (β=-1.6, P<0.0001) were related to running times.
To summarize, body fat and training characteristics, not skeletal muscle mass, were associated with running times in master half-marathoners, master marathoners, and master ultra-marathoners. Master half-marathoners and master marathoners rather rely on a high running speed during training whereas master ultra-marathoners rely on a high running volume during training. The common opinion that skeletal muscle mass affects running performance in master runners needs to be questioned.
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ABSTRACT: This study investigated performance trends and the age of peak running speed in ultra-marathons from 50 to 3,100 miles. The running speed and age of the fastest competitors in 50-, 100-, 200-, 1,000- and 3,100-mile events held worldwide from 1971 to 2012 were analyzed using single- and multi-level regression analyses. The number of events and competitors increased exponentially in 50- and 100-mile events. For the annual fastest runners, women improved in 50-mile events, but not men. In 100-mile events, both women and men improved their performance. In 1,000-mile events, men became slower. For the annual top ten runners, women improved in 50- and 100-mile events, whereas the performance of men remained unchanged in 50- and 3,100-mile events but improved in 100-mile events. The age of the annual fastest runners was approximately 35 years for both women and men in 50-mile events and approximately 35 years for women in 100-mile events. For men, the age of the annual fastest runners in 100-mile events was higher at 38 years. For the annual fastest runners of 1,000-mile events, the women were approximately 43 years of age, whereas for men, the age increased to 48 years of age. For the annual fastest runners of 3,100-mile events, the age in women decreased to 35 years and was approximately 39 years in men. The running speed of the fastest competitors increased for both women and men in 100-mile events but only for women in 50-mile events. The age of peak running speed increased in men with increasing race distance to approximately 45 years in 1,000-mile events, whereas it decreased to approximately 39 years in 3,100-mile events. In women, the upper age of peak running speed increased to approximately 51 years in 3,100-mile events.Clinics (São Paulo, Brazil) 03/2014; 69(3):203-11. DOI:10.6061/clinics/2014(03)11 · 1.42 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Anecdotal reports have assumed that women would be able to outrun men in long-distance running. The aim of this study was to test this assumption by investigating the changes in performance difference between sexes in the best ultramarathoners in 50-mile, 100-mile, 200-mile, 1,000-mile, and 3,100-mile events held worldwide between 1971 and 2012. The sex differences in running speed for the fastest runners ever were analyzed using one-way analysis of variance with subsequent Tukey-Kramer posthoc analysis. Changes in sex difference in running speed of the annual fastest were analyzed using linear and nonlinear regression analyses, correlation analyses, and mixed-effects regression analyses. The fastest men ever were faster than the fastest women ever in 50-mile (17.5%), 100-mile (17.4%), 200-mile (9.7%), 1,000-mile (20.2%), and 3,100-mile (18.6%) events. For the ten fastest finishers ever, men were faster than women in 50-mile (17.1%±1.9%), 100-mile (19.2%±1.5%), and 1,000-mile (16.7%±1.6%) events. No correlation existed between sex difference and running speed for the fastest ever (r (2)=0.0039, P=0.91) and the ten fastest ever (r (2)=0.15, P=0.74) for all distances. For the annual fastest, the sex difference in running speed decreased linearly in 50-mile events from 14.6% to 8.9%, remained unchanged in 100-mile (18.0%±8.4%) and 1,000-mile (13.7%±9.1%) events, and increased in 3,100-mile events from 12.5% to 16.9%. For the annual ten fastest runners, the performance difference between sexes decreased linearly in 50-mile events from 31.6%±3.6% to 8.9%±1.8% and in 100-mile events from 26.0%±4.4% to 24.7%±0.9%. To summarize, the fastest men were ~17%-20% faster than the fastest women for all distances from 50 miles to 3,100 miles. The linear decrease in sex difference for 50-mile and 100-mile events may suggest that women are reducing the sex gap for these distances.Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine 01/2015; 6:7-21. DOI:10.2147/OAJSM.S76490
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ABSTRACT: It has been assumed that women would be able to outrun men in ultra-marathon running. The present study investigated the sex differences in running speed in ultra-marathons held worldwide from 50 km to 1,000 km. Changes in running speeds and the sex differences in running speeds in the annual fastest finishers in 50 km, 100 km, 200 km and 1,000 km events held worldwide from 1969-2012 were analysed using linear, non-linear and multi-level regression analyses. For the annual fastest and the annual ten fastest finishers, running speeds increased non-linearly in 50 km and 100 km, but not in 200 km and 1,000 km where running speeds remained unchanged for the annual fastest. The sex differences decreased non-linearly in 50 km and 100 km, but not in 200 and 1,000 km where the sex difference remained unchanged for the annual fastest. For the fastest women and men ever, the sex difference in running speed was lowest in 100 km (5.0%) and highest in 50 km (15.4%). For the ten fastest women and men ever, the sex difference was lowest in 100 km (10.0 ± 3.0%) and highest in 200 km (27.3 ± 5.7%). For both the fastest (r(2) = 0.003, p = 0.82) and the ten fastest finishers ever (r(2) = 0.34, p = 0.41) in 50 km, 100 km, 200 km and 1,000 km, we found no correlation between sex difference in performance and running speed. To summarize, the sex differences in running speeds decreased non-linearly in 50 km and 100 km but remained unchanged in 200 km and 1,000 km, and the sex differences in running speeds showed no change with increasing length of the race distance. These findings suggest that it is very unlikely that women will ever outrun men in ultra-marathons held from 50 km to 100 km.SpringerPlus 02/2014; 3:97. DOI:10.1186/2193-1801-3-97