Patrizia Knechtle

University of Zurich, Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland

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Publications (128)138.65 Total impact

  • Sandro Manuel Mueller · Patrizia Knechtle · Beat Knechtle · Marco Toigo
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    ABSTRACT: An Ironman triathlon is associated with changes in body composition as well as decreases in neuromuscular function. While the changes in body composition occurring during an Ironman are well investigated, comprehensive data on the changes in neuromuscular performance are scarce. In the present study, we investigated the mechanical alterations underlying reported reductions in maximal muscular force and power after an Ironman race in men. Before and directly after an Ironman, countermovement jump (CMJ), squat jump (SJ), and multiple one-legged hopping (m1LH) maneuvers were performed to assess fatigue-related alterations in mechanical variables in thirteen male non-professional triathletes. During CMJ, peak power (P = 0.003), peak velocity (P < 0.001), jump height (P = 0.007), and rate of force development (P = 0.042) decreased during the Ironman. Total (P < 0.001) and positive (P = 0.003) impulses during a CMJ were reduced after the triathlon, while both negative impulses did not differ pre to post Ironman. Absolute peak force remained constant during CMJ (P = 0.200) and SJ (P = 0.764). Maximal voluntary ground reaction force (F m1LH, P < 0.001) and peak stiffness (P = 0.003) during m1LH were decreased after the Ironman. The reduced CMJ height was a result of the lower positive impulse. Therefore, the neuromuscular deficit after the Ironman race was due to impairments in force transmission, resulting in a lower average positive force during CMJ, because of a slower rate of force development. The decreased F m1LH could be partly explained by reduced leg stiffness.
    Arbeitsphysiologie 12/2014; 115(4). DOI:10.1007/s00421-014-3051-2 · 2.30 Impact Factor
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    Sandro Manuel Mueller · Beat Knechtle · Patrizia Knechtle · Marco Toigo
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction Endurance performance decreases during ageing due to alterations in physiological characteristics, energy stores, and psychological factors. To investigate alterations in physiological characteristics and body composition of elderly master athletes in response to an extreme endurance event, we present the case of the first ninety-year-old official male marathon finisher. Case description Before and directly after the marathon, a treadmill incremental test, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, peripheral quantitative computed tomography, mechanography, and dynamometry measurements were conducted. The athlete finished the marathon in 6 h 48 min 55 s, which corresponds to an average competition speed of 6.19 km h-1. Discussion and Evaluation Before the marathon, was 31.5 ml min-1 kg-1 body mass and peak heart rate was 140 beats min-1. Total fat mass increased in the final preparation phase (+3.4%), while leg fat mass and leg lean mass were slightly reduced after the marathon (-3.7 and -1.6%, respectively). Countermovement jump (CMJ) peak power and peak velocity decreased after the marathon (-16.5 and -14.7%, respectively). Total impulse during CMJ and energy cost of running were not altered by the marathon. In the left leg, maximal voluntary ground reaction force (Fm1LH) and maximal isometric voluntary torque (MIVT) were impaired after the marathon (-12.2 and -14.5%, respectively). Conclusions Side differences in Fm1LH and MIVT could be attributed to the distinct non-symmetrical running pattern of the athlete. Similarities in alterations in leg composition and CMJ performance existed between the nonagenarian athlete and young marathon runners. In contrast, alterations in total body composition and m1LH performance were markedly different in the nonagenarian athlete when compared to his younger counterparts.
    SpringerPlus 10/2014; 3(1):608. DOI:10.1186/2193-1801-3-608
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    ABSTRACT: Half-marathon running is of high popularity. Recent studies tried to find predictor variables for half-marathon race time for recreational female and male runners and to present equations to predict race time. The actual equations included running speed during training for both women and men as training variable but midaxillary skinfold for women and body mass index for men as anthropometric variable. An actual study found that percent body fat and running speed during training sessions were the best predictor variables for half-marathon race times in both women and men. The aim of the present study was to improve the existing equations to predict half-marathon race time in a larger sample of male and female half-marathoners by using percent body fat and running speed during training sessions as predictor variables. In a sample of 147 men and 83 women, multiple linear regression analysis including percent body fat and running speed during training units as independent variables and race time as dependent variable were performed and an equation was evolved to predict half-marathon race time. For men, half-marathon race time might be predicted by the equation (r(2) = 0.42, adjusted r(2) = 0.41, SE = 13.3) half-marathon race time (min) = 142.7 + 1.158 × percent body fat (%) - 5.223 × running speed during training (km/h). The predicted race time correlated highly significantly (r = 0.71, p < 0.0001) to the achieved race time. For women, half-marathon race time might be predicted by the equation (r(2) = 0.68, adjusted r(2) = 0.68, SE = 9.8) race time (min) = 168.7 + 1.077 × percent body fat (%) - 7.556 × running speed during training (km/h). The predicted race time correlated highly significantly (r = 0.89, p < 0.0001) to the achieved race time. The coefficients of determination of the models were slightly higher than for the existing equations. Future studies might include physiological variables to increase the coefficients of determination of the models.
    SpringerPlus 05/2014; 3:248. DOI:10.1186/2193-1801-3-248
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    ABSTRACT: Background The purpose of this study was to examine the sex and age-related differences in performance in a draft-legal ultra-cycling event. Methods Age-related changes in performance across years were investigated in the 24-hour draft-legal cycling event held in Schotz, Switzerland, between 2000 and 2011 using multi-level regression analyses including age, repeated participation and environmental temperatures as co-variables. Results For all finishers, the age of peak cycling performance decreased significantly (Ss = -0.273, p = 0.036) from 38 +/- 10 to 35 +/- 6 years in females but remained unchanged (Ss = -0.035, p = 0.906) at 41.0 +/- 10.3 years in males. For the annual fastest females and males, the age of peak cycling performance remained unchanged at 37.3 +/- 8.5 and 38.3 +/- 5.4 years, respectively. For all female and male finishers, males improved significantly (Ss = 7.010, p = 0.006) the cycling distance from 497.8 +/- 219.6 km to 546.7 +/- 205.0 km whereas females (Ss = -0.085, p = 0.987) showed an unchanged performance of 593.7 +/- 132.3 km. The mean cycling distance achieved by the male winners of 960.5 +/- 51.9 km was significantly (p < 0.001) greater than the distance covered by the female winners with 769.7 +/- 65.7 km but was not different between the sexes (p > 0.05). The sex difference in performance for the annual winners of 19.7 +/- 7.8% remained unchanged across years (p > 0.05). The achieved cycling distance decreased in a curvilinear manner with advancing age. There was a significant age effect (F = 28.4, p < 0.0001) for cycling performance where the fastest cyclists were in age group 35-39 years. Conclusion In this 24-h cycling draft-legal event, performance in females remained unchanged while their age of peak cycling performance decreased and performance in males improved while their age of peak cycling performance remained unchanged. The annual fastest females and males were 37.3 +/- 8.5 and 38.3 +/- 5.4 years old, respectively. The sex difference for the fastest finishers was ~20%. It seems that women were not able to profit from drafting to improve their ultra-cycling performance.
    05/2014; 6:19. DOI:10.1186/2052-1847-6-19
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose Lower limb skin-fold thicknesses have been differentially associated with sex in elite runners. Front thigh and medial calf skin-fold appear to be related to 1,500m and 10,000m time in men but 400m time in women. The aim of the present study was to compare anthropometric and training characteristics in recreational female and male half-marathoners. Methods The association between both anthropometry and training characteristics and race time was investigated in 83 female and 147 male recreational half marathoners using bi- and multi-variate analyses. Results In men, body fat percentage (β=0.6), running speed during training (β=-3.7), and body mass index (β=1.9) were related to half-marathon race time after multi-variate analysis. After exclusion of body mass index, r2 decreased from 0.51 to 0.49, but body fat percentage (β=0.8) and running speed during training (β=-4.1) remained predictive. In women, body fat percentage (β=0.75) and speed during training (β=-6.5) were related to race time (r2=0.73). For women, the exclusion of body mass index had no consequence on the predictive variables for half-marathon race time. Conclusion To summarize, in both female and male recreational half-marathoners, both body fat percentage and running speed during training sessions were related to half-marathon race times when corrected with co-variates after multi-variate regression analyses.
    03/2014; 5(1):10-20. DOI:10.5167/uzh-95130
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    ABSTRACT: Participation in endurance running such as half-marathon (21-km) and marathon (42-km) has increased over the last decades. We compared 147 recreational male half-marathoners and 126 recreational male marathoners to investigate similarities or differences in their anthropometric and training characteristics. The half-marathoners were heavier (P < 0.05), had longer legs (P < 0.001), thicker upper arms (P < 0.05), a thicker thigh (P < 0.01), a higher sum of skinfold thicknesses (P < 0.01), a higher body fat percentage (P < 0.05) and a higher skeletal muscle mass (P < 0.05) than the marathoners. They had fewer years of experience (P < 0.05), completed fewer weekly training kilometers (P < 0.001), and fewer weekly running hours (P < 0.01) compared to the marathoners. For halfmarathoners, body mass index (P = 0.011), percent body fat (P = 0.036) and speed in running during training (P < 0.0001) were related to race time (r 2 #61; 0.47). For marathoners, percent body fat (P #61; 0.001) and speed in running during training (P < 0.0001) were associated to race time (r 2 #61; 0.47). When body mass index was excluded for the half-marathoners in the multi-variate analysis, r 2 decreased to 0.45, therefore body mass index explained only 2% of the variance of half-marathon performance. Percent body fat was significantly and negatively related to running speed during training in both groups. To summarize, half-marathoners showed differences in both anthropometry and training characteristics compared to marathoners that could be related to their lower training volume, most probably due to the shorter race distance they intended to compete. Both groups of athletes seemed to profit from low body fat and a high running speed during training for fast race times.
    The Chinese journal of physiology 06/2013; 56(3). DOI:10.4077/CJP.2013.BAB105 · 1.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: Triathletes lose body mass during an Ironman triathlon. However, the associated body composition changes remain enigmatic. Thus, the purpose of this study was to investigate Ironman-induced changes in segmental body composition, using for the first time dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT). METHODS: Before and after an Ironman triathlon, segmental body composition and lower leg tissue mass, areas and densities were assessed using DXA and pQCT, respectively, in eight non-professional male triathletes. In addition, blood and urine samples were collected for the determination of hydration status. RESULTS: Body mass decreased by 1.9 ± 0.8 kg. This loss was due to 0.4 ± 0.3 and 1.4 ± 0.8 kg decrease in fat and lean mass, respectively (P < 0.01). Calf muscle density was reduced by 1.93 ± 1.04 % (P < 0.01). Hemoglobin, hematocrit, and plasma [K(+)] remained unchanged, while plasma [Na(+)] (P < 0.05), urine specific gravity and plasma and urine osmolality increased (P < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: The loss in lean mass was explained by a decrease in muscle density, as an indicator of glycogen loss, and increases in several indicators for dehydration. The measurement of body composition with DXA and pQCT before and after an Ironman triathlon provided exact values for the loss in fat and lean mass. Consequently, these results yielded more detailed insights into tissue catabolism during ultra-endurance exercise.
    Arbeitsphysiologie 06/2013; 113(9). DOI:10.1007/s00421-013-2670-3 · 2.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of the present study was to compare the trends in participation, performance and age of finishers in 'Badwater' and 'Spartathlon' as two of the toughest ultramarathons in the world of more than 200 km of distance. Running speed and age of male and female finishers in Badwater and Spartathlon were analyzed from 2000 to 2012. Age of peak performance and sex difference in running speed were investigated during the studied period. The number of female and male finishes increased in Badwater and Spartathlon. Women accounted on average for 21.5% ± 6.9% in Badwater and 10.8% ± 2.3% in Spartathlon. There was a significant increase in female participation in Badwater from 18.4% to 19.1% (p < 0.01) and in Spartathlon from 11.9% to 12.5% (p = 0.02). In men, the age of finishers was higher in Badwater (46.5 ± 9.3 years) compared to Spartathlon (44.8 ± 8.2 years) (p < 0.01). The age of female finishers of both races was similar with 43.0 ± 7.5 years in Badwater and 44.5 ± 7.8 years in Spartathlon (p > 0.05). Over the years, the age of the annual five fastest men decreased in Badwater from 42.4 ± 4.2 to 39.8 ± 5.7 years (p < 0.05). For women, the age remained unchanged at 42.3 ± 3.8 years in Badwater (p > 0.05). In Spartathlon, the age was unchanged at 39.7 ± 2.4 years for men and 44.6 ± 3.2 years for women (p > 0.05). In Badwater, women and men became faster over the years. The running speed increased from 7.9 ± 0.7 to 8.7 ± 0.6 km/h (p < 0.01) in men and from 5.4 ± 1.1 to 6.6 ± 0.5 km/h (p < 0.01) in women. The sex difference in running speed remained unchanged at 19.8% ± 4.8% (p > 0.05). In Spartathlon, the running speed was stable over time at 10.8 ± 0.7 km/h for men and 8.7 ± 0.5 km/h for women (p > 0.05). The sex difference remained unchanged at 19.6% ± 2.5% (p > 0.05). These results suggest that for both Badwater and Spartathlon, (a) female participation increased, (b) the fastest finishers were approximately 40 to 45 years, and (c) the sex difference was at approximately 20%. Women will not outrun men in both Badwater and Spartathlon races. Master ultramarathoners can achieve a high level of performance in ultramarathons greater than 200 km under extreme conditions.
    05/2013; 2(1):15. DOI:10.1186/2046-7648-2-15
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    ABSTRACT: The present study examined the sex difference in swimming (7.8 km), cycling (360 km), running (84 km), and overall race times for Double Iron ultra-triathletes. Sex differences in split times and overall race times of 1,591 men and 155 women finishing a Double Iron ultra-triathlon between 1985 and 2012 were analyzed. The annual number of finishes increased linearly for women and exponentially for men. Men achieved race times of 1,716 ± 243 min compared to 1,834 ± 261 min for women and were 118 ± 18 min (6.9%) faster (p < 0.01). Men finished swimming within 156 ± 63 min compared to women with 163 ± 31 min and were 8 ± 32 min (5.1 ± 5.0%) faster (p < 0.01). For cycling, men (852 ± 196 min) were 71 ± 70 min (8.3 ± 3.5%) faster than women (923 ± 126 min) (p < 0.01). Men completed the run split within 710 ± 145 min compared to 739 ± 150 min for women and were 30 ± 5 min (4.2 ± 3.4%) faster (p = 0.03). The annual three fastest men improved race time from 1,650 ± 114 min in 1985 to 1,339 ± 33 min in 2012 (p < 0.01). Overall race time for women remained unchanged at 1,593 ± 173 min with an unchanged sex difference of 27.1 ± 8.6%. In swimming, the split times for the annual three fastest women (148 ± 14 min) and men (127 ± 20 min) remained unchanged with an unchanged sex difference of 26.8 ± 13.5%. In cycling, the annual three fastest men improved the split time from 826 ± 60 min to 666 ± 18 min (p = 0.02). For women, the split time in cycling remained unchanged at 844 ± 54 min with an unchanged sex difference of 25.2 ± 7.3%. In running, the annual fastest three men improved split times from 649 ± 77 min to 532 ± 16 min (p < 0.01). For women, however, the split times remained unchanged at 657 ± 70 min with a stable sex difference of 32.4 ± 12.5%. To summarize, the present findings showed that men were faster than women in Double Iron ultra-triathlon, men improved overall race times, cycling and running split times, and the sex difference remained unchanged across years for overall race time and split times. The sex differences for overall race times and split times were higher than reported for Ironman triathlon.
    04/2013; 2(1):12. DOI:10.1186/2046-7648-2-12
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    ABSTRACT: It has been argued that women should be able to outrun men in ultra-endurance distances. The present study investigated the sex difference in overall race times and split times between elite female and male Ironman triathletes competing in Ironman Hawaii (3.8 km swimming, 180 km cycling, and 42.195 km running) and Double Iron ultra-triathletes (7.6 km swimming, 360 km cycling, and 84.4 km running). Data from 20,638 athletes, including 5,163 women and 15,475 men competing in Ironman Hawaii and from 143 women and 1,252 men competing in Double Iron ultra-triathlon races held worldwide between 1999 and 2011 were analyzed. In Ironman Hawaii, the sex difference in performance of the top three athletes remained unchanged during the period studied for overall race time. For Double Iron ultra-triathletes, the sex difference for the top three athletes remained unchanged for overall race time. Sex differences increased as endurance race distances increased and showed no changes over time. It appears that women are unlikely to close the gap in ultra-endurance performance with men in ultra-triathlons in the near future. Physiological (e.g., maximum oxygen uptake) and anthropometric characteristics (e.g., skeletal muscle mass) may set biological limits for women.
    Perceptual and Motor Skills 04/2013; 116(2):690-706. DOI:10.2466/03.06.PMS.116.2.690-706 · 0.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The age-related changes in ultraendurance performance have been previously examined for running and triathlon but not mountain biking. The aims of this study were (i) to describe the performance trends and (ii) to analyze the age-related performance decline in ultraendurance mountain biking in a 120-km ultraendurance mountain bike race the "Swiss Bike Masters" from 1995 to 2009 in 9,325 male athletes. The mean (±SD) race time decreased from 590 ± 80 min to 529 ± 88 min for overall finishers and from 415 ± 8 min to 359 ± 16 min for the top 10 finishers, respectively. The mean (±SD) age of all finishers significantly (P < 0.001) increased from 31.6 ± 6.5 years to 37.9 ± 8.9 years, while the age of the top 10 remained stable at 30.0 ± 1.6 years. The race time of mountain bikers aged between 25 and 34 years was significantly (P < 0.01) faster compared with the race time of older age groups. The age-related decline in performance in endurance mountain bikers in the "Swiss Bike Masters" appears to start earlier compared with other ultraendurance sports.
    Research in Sports Medicine An International Journal 04/2013; 21(2):146-58. DOI:10.1080/15438627.2012.757228 · 1.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: General participation in contests such as ultra-marathons and ultra-triathlons has increased considerably over the past 30 years, especially among women. This study investigated performance trends in the Swiss Bike Masters, one of the first and most prestigious mountain bike, ultra-endurance races in its class, with comparisons of participation and performance trends to similar races. The development of performance in the Swiss Bike Masters held between 1994 and 2012 was investigated by analysing the number of finishers, their age, sex, and cycling speed. Between 1994 and 2009, the athletes had to cover 120 kilometers with a total difference in altitude of 5,000 meters. Since 2010, the race distance was shortened to 105 kilometers and the total difference in altitude was reduced to 4,400 meters. The total men participating and total finishing decreased significantly, while women's participation has remained low. The age of the annual winners and the annual top three finishers showed no changes over time. Performances of the annual fastest women improved, while performances of the annual fastest men remained unchanged. To summarize, rate of finishing has decreased for men and has been stable, but low, among women. The sex difference in cycling speed for the best cyclists has decreased across the years.
    Perceptual and Motor Skills 04/2013; 116(2):640-54. DOI:10.2466/30.PMS.116.2.640-654 · 0.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The present study investigated the changes in single skinfold thicknesses and body fat during an ultra-endurance cycling race. One hundred and nineteen ultra-endurance cyclists in the 'Swiss Cycling Marathon' covering a distance of 600 km were included. Changes in skinfold thickness, fat mass, skeletal muscle mass and total body water were estimated using anthropometric methods. The subjects were riding at a mean speed of 23.5±4.0 km/h and finished the race within 1,580±296 min. During the race, body mass decreased by 1.5±1.2 kg (P<0.001), and fat mass decreased by 1.5±1.1 kg (P<0.001). Skeletal muscle mass and total body water remained unchanged (P>0.05). The decrease in body mass correlated to the decrease in fat mass (r = 0.20, P=0.03). The skinfold thicknesses at pectoral (-14.7%), abdominal (-14.9%), and thigh (-10.2%) site showed the largest decrease. The decrease in abdominal skinfold was significantly and negatively related to cycling speed during the race (r = -0.31, P<0.001). Cycling 600 km at ∼23 km/h led to a decrease in fat mass and in all skinfold thicknesses. The largest decrease in skinfold thickness was recorded for pectoral, abdominal, and thigh site. The decrease in abdominal skinfold thickness was negatively related to cycling speed. The body seems to reduce adipose subcutaneous fat during an ultra-endurance performance at the site of the thickest skinfold.
    03/2013; 4(1):15-22. DOI:10.5167/uzh-73711
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    ABSTRACT: A personal best marathon time has been reported as a strong predictor variable for an Ironman race time in recreational female Ironman triathletes. This raises the question whether recreational female Ironman triathletes are similar to recreational female marathoners. We investigated similarities and differences in anthropometry and training between 53 recreational female Ironman triathletes and 46 recreational female marathoners. The association of anthropometric variables and training characteristics with race time was investigated using bi- and multi-variate analysis. The Ironman triathletes were younger (P < 0.01), had a lower skin-fold thickness at pectoral (P < 0.001), axillar (P < 0.01), and subscapular (P < 0.05) site, but a thicker skin-fold thickness at the calf site (P < 0.01) compared to the marathoners. Overall weekly training hours were higher in the Ironman triathletes (P < 0.001). The triathletes were running faster during training than the marathoners (P < 0.05). For the triathletes, neither an anthropometric nor a training variable showed an association with overall Ironman race time after bi-variate analysis. In the multi-variate analysis, running speed during training was related to marathon split time for the Ironman triathletes (P = 0.01) and to marathon race time for the marathoners (P = 0.01). To conclude, although personal best marathon time is a strong predictor variable for performance in recreational female Ironman triathletes, there are differences in both anthropometry and training between recreational female Ironman triathletes and recreational female marathoners and different predictor variables for race performance in these two groups of athletes. These findings suggest that recreational female Ironman triathletes are not comparable to recreational female marathoners regarding the association between anthropometric and training characteristics with race time.
    The Chinese journal of physiology 02/2013; 56(1):xxx. DOI:10.4077/CJP.2013.BAA089 · 1.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Participation and performance trends have been investigated in ultramarathons and ultratriathlons but not in ultracycling. The aim of the present study was to investigate (1) participation and performance trends in ultraendurance cyclists, (2) changes in cycling speed over the years, and (3) the age of the fastest male and female ultraendurance cyclists. Participation and performance trends in the 5000 km Race Across America (RAAM) and in two RAAM-qualifier races - the 818 km Furnace Creek 508 in the United States and the 715 km Swiss Cycling Marathon in Europe - were investigated using linear regression analyses and analyses of variance. On average, ~41% of participants did not finish either the RAAM or the Furnace Creek 508, whereas ~26% did not finish the Swiss Cycling Marathon. Female finishers accounted for ~11% in both the RAAM and the Furnace Creek 508 but only ~3% in the Swiss Cycling Marathon. The mean cycling speed of all finishers remained unchanged during the studied periods. The winner's average speed was faster for men than for women in the RAAM (22.6 ± 1.1 km · h(-1) versus 18.4 ± 1.7 km · h(-1), respectively; average speed difference between male and female winners, 25.0% ± 11.9%), the Swiss Cycling Marathon (30.8 ± 0.8 km · h(-1) versus 24.4 ± 1.9 km · h(-1), respectively; average speed difference between male and female winners, 27.8% ± 9.4%), and the Furnace Creek 508 (27.4 ± 1.6 km · h(-1) versus 23.4 ± 3.0 km · h(-1), respectively; average speed difference between male and female winners, 18.4% ± 13.9%). In both the Furnace Creek 508 and the Swiss Cycling Marathon, ~46% of the finishers were aged between 35 and 49 years. The mean age of winners, both male and female, across the years in the Furnace Creek 508 and in the Swiss Cycling Marathon was 37 ± 10 years. These findings in ultracycling races showed that (1) ~26%-40% of starters were unable to finish, (2) the percentage of female finishers was ~3%-11%, (3) the gender difference in performance was ~18%-28%, and (4) ~46% of the successful finishers were master athletes. Future studies need to investigate the reasons for the low female participation and focus on the age-related performance decline in other ultraendurance events in order to confirm that master athletes are predisposed to ultraendurance performances.
    Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine 02/2013; 4:41-51. DOI:10.2147/OAJSM.S40142
  • C A Rüst · B Knechtle · P Knechtle · T Rosemann · R Lepers
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    ABSTRACT: We investigated participation and performance trends in duathletes in the ‘Powerman Duathlon World Championship’ in Zofingen, Switzerland, from 2002 to 2011, regarding the nationality of the finishers. Sex and nationality at the time of the competition and overall race times of both women and men finishers at the ‘Powerman Zofingen’ (10 km run, 150 km cycle, 30 km run) were analysed from 2002 to 2011 using linear regression analysis. In total, 272 women and 1,964 men finished the race. Participation increased across years in women (r2=0.73, P<0.01), but not in men (r2=0.15, P>0.05). Most of the athletes originated from Switzerland, followed by participants from Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, the United States of America, Spain, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Denmark. Across the years, both German men (r2=0.55, P=0.01) and German women (r2=0.66, P<0.01) increased their participation. The top five athletes overall showed no changes in performance for both women and men where Swiss athletes achieved the fastest race times. Athletes from the five countries with the highest participation showed no changes in overall race time. To summarize, (i) European athletes from Switzerland and Germany dominated participation in the ‘Powerman World Championship’ where Swiss duathletes were the fastest and (ii) duathletes at world-class level showed no changes in performance in the last ten years. Future studies should investigate the participation and performance trends in other long distance duathlons of the ‘Powerman World Series’. Keywords: running, cycling, ultra, endurance, multi-sport
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    ABSTRACT: Triathlon, in particular the ‘Ironman’ distance, has become very popular in the field of ultra-endurance sports. The aim of the present study was to analyse the participation and performances at the ‘Ironman Switzerland’ in Zurich, Switzerland, regarding the nationality of the participants. Nationalities and performances of 21,399 athletes, originating from exactly 100 countries and competing between 1995 and 2011, were analysed. The mean total race times and changes across the years of the top ten athletes overall and of each country for both women and men triathletes were analysed using linear regression analyses. In total, 90% of the participants in ‘Ironman Switzerland’ originated from European countries, with triathletes from Switzerland (31.9%) and Germany (18.9%) presenting the majority, followed by participants from Great Britain (11.2%), France (7.9%), Italy (5.3%), USA (4.7%), Spain (3.5%), Belgium (2.7%) and Austria (2.6%). Switzerland presented the fastest triathletes in both sexes followed by athletes from Germany. Behind these two leading nations, triathletes from countries such as France, Belgium, Austria, Great Britain, Spain, Italy and USA competed slower. To summarize, ‘Ironman Switzerland’ has been dominated by central European triathletes regarding participation and performance. Most of the participants and the fastest finishers came from Switzerland, followed by triathletes from Germany. To assess these results, future studies need to investigate the leading nations in ‘Ironman’ qualifying races all over the world for ‘Ironman Hawaii’ and in the ‘Ironman World Championship’ in Hawaii.
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    ABSTRACT: Body Mass Index is associated with endurance performance in athletes. Reported and measured values of body mass and body height in 1,618 endurance athletes (1,358 men, 260 women) showed that men and women both underestimated their body mass and overestimated their body height, leading to an underestimation of Body Mass Index. There were age and sex differences in estimates of height and weight; for both women and men, underestimation of Body Mass Index amounted to 0.4 kg/m2. Master athletes tended to underestimate their body mass and overestimate their body height thus leading to significant differences between estimated and measured Body Mass Index. However, the magnitude of underestimation of BMI probably has a negligible influence on performance predictions. The differences between measured and estimated body mass, height, and BMI were within the range of normal daily variation, and for body height even within the precision of the measurement (0.5 cm).
    Perceptual and Motor Skills 12/2012; 115(3):833-44. DOI:10.2466/03.27.PMS.115.6.833-844 · 0.66 Impact Factor
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    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.
    12/2012; 3(4):247-56. DOI:10.5167/uzh-73608
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    ABSTRACT: The age of peak performance in elite endurance athletes has been investigated for elite marathoners, but not for elite Ironman triathletes. The aim of this study was to analyze the age of peak performance in swimming (3.8 km), cycling (180 km), running (42 km), and overall race time for elite female and male Ironman triathletes competing in Ironman Switzerland, a qualifier for the Ironman world championship, known as the Ironman Hawaii. The age of the annual top ten overall swimmers, cyclists, runners, and annual overall finishers for both male and female elite triathletes and their corresponding split and overall race times at the Ironman Switzerland were analyzed between 1995 and 2011. The mean age of the elite Ironman triathletes was 33 ± 3 years for men and 34 ± 4 years for women. For women, the age of peak performance was not significantly different between the three disciplines (P > 0.05), while for men, the best swimmers (29 ± 3 years) were significantly (P < 0.05) younger than the best runners (35 ± 5 years). During the study period, the age of peak performance remained unchanged for men at 31 ± 3 years (P > 0.05), but increased for women from 30 ± 4 years in 1995 to 36 ± 5 years in 2011 (P < 0.01). Although both women and men improved their overall race times during the 1995-2011 period, the age of peak performance was similar between women and men in the three disciplines and in overall race time. Future studies need to examine the change in age of peak performance across years in the Ironman Hawaii world championship event.
    Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine 11/2012; 3:175-82. DOI:10.2147/OAJSM.S37115