Impact of Weather on Marathon-Running Performance

ArticleinMedicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 39(3):487-93 · March 2007with25 Reads
DOI: 10.1249/mss.0b013e31802d3aba · Source: PubMed
Marathon running performance slows in warm weather conditions, but the quantitative impact of weather has not been established. To quantify the impact of weather on marathon performance for different populations of runners. Marathon results and weather data were obtained for the Boston, New York, Twin Cities, Grandma's, Richmond, Hartford, and Vancouver Marathons for 36, 29, 24, 23, 6, 12, and 10 yr, respectively. The race results were broken into quartiles based on the wet-bulb globe temperature (Q1 5.1-10 degrees C, Q2 10.1-15 degrees C, Q3 15.1-20 degrees C, and Q4 20.1-25 degrees C). Analysis of the top three male and female finishers as well as the 25th-, 50th-, 100th-, and 300th-place finishers were compared with the course record and then contrasted with weather. Marathon performances of top males were slower than the course record by 1.7 +/- 1.5, 2.5 +/- 2.1, 3.3 +/- 2.0, and 4.5 +/- 2.3% (mean +/- SD) for Q1-Q4, respectively. Differences between Q4 and Q1, Q2, and between Q3, and Q1 were statistically different (P < 0.05). The top women followed a similar trend (Q1 3.2 +/- 4.9, Q2 3.2 +/- 2.9, Q3 3.8 +/- 3.2, and Q4 5.4 +/- 4.1% (mean +/- SD)), but the differences among quartiles were not statistically significant. The 25th-, 50th-, 100th-, and 300th-place finishers slowed more than faster runners as WBGT increased. For all runners, equivalence testing around a 1% indifference threshold suggests potentially important changes among quartiles independently of statistical significance. There is a progressive slowing of marathon performance as the WBGT increases from 5 to 25 degrees C. This seems true for men and women of wide ranging abilities, but performance is more negatively affected for slower populations of runners.
    • "A possible weakness could be that some events from 6 h to 10 days were not recorded in the data base and therefore were not included in the data set. Furthermore, the study is limited since variables such as anthropometric characteristics (Knechtle et al. 2009Knechtle et al. , 2010aKnechtle et al. , b, 2011a, b), training data (Hagan et al. 1981), nutrition (Maughan and Shirreffs 2012; Rodriguez et al. 2009), fluid intake (Williams et al. 2012 ), exercise-associated hyponatremia (Hoffman et al. 2013), physiological parameters (Billat et al. 2001), and environmental conditions (Ely et al. 2007) were not considered. These variables may have had an influence on race outcome. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of the present study was to examine sex differences across years in performance of runners in ultra-marathons lasting from 6 h to 10 days (i.e. 6, 12, 24, 48, 72, 144, and 240 h). Data of 32,187 finishers competing between 1975 and 2013 with 93,109 finishes were analysed using multiple linear regression analyses. With increasing age, the sex gap for all race durations increased. Across calendar years, the gap between women and men decreased in 6, 72, 144 and 240 h, but increased in 24 and 48 h. The men-to-women ratio differed among age groups, where a higher ratio was observed in the older age groups, and this relationship varied by distance. In all durations of ultra-marathon, the participation of women and men varied by age (p < 0.001), indicating a relatively low participation of women in the older age groups. In summary, between 1975 and 2013, women were able to reduce the gap to men for most of timed ultra-marathons and for those age groups where they had relatively high participation.
    Full-text · Article · May 2016
    • "Wet-bulb globe temperature (WBGT) is widely acknowledged to be a better index for the assessment of climatic heat stress and provides a composite measure of Ta, RH and solar radiation . Several studies (Ely et al. 2007b; McCann and Adams 1997 ) have reported the influence of WBGT on competitive race performance in athletes and demonstrated a progressive reduction in performance as WBGT rises above the optimum. Galloway and Maughan (1997) investigated the influence of systematic variations in Ta (4, 11, 21 and 31 °C) on performance in the laboratory, and demonstrated that endurance exercise capacity is impaired progressively as Ta increases above the optimum (in this case 11 °C). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose The present study investigated the effects of variations in solar radiation on endurance exercise capacity and thermoregulatory responses in a hot environment. Methods Eight male volunteers performed four cycle exercise trials at 70 % maximum oxygen uptake until exhaustion in an environmental chamber maintained at 30 °C and 50 % relative humidity. Volunteers were tested under four solar radiation conditions: 800, 500, 250 and 0 W/m2. Results Exercise time to exhaustion was less on the 800 W/m2 trial (23 ± 4 min) than on all the other trials (500 W/m2 30 ± 7 min; P < 0.05, 250 W/m2 43 ± 10 min; P < 0.001, 0 W/m2 46 ± 10 min; P < 0.001), and on the 500 W/m2 trial than the 250 W/m2 (P < 0.05) and 0 W/m2 (P < 0.01) trials. There were no differences in core (rectal) temperature, total sweat loss, heart rate, skin blood flow, cutaneous vascular conductance and percentage changes in plasma volume between trials (P > 0.05). Mean skin temperature was higher on the 800 W/m2 trial than the 250 and 0 W/m2 trials (P < 0.05), and on the 500 W/m2 trial than the 0 W/m2 trial (P < 0.05). The core-to-skin temperature gradient was narrower on the 800 W/m2 trial than the 250 and 0 W/m2 trials (P < 0.05). Conclusion The present study demonstrates that endurance exercise capacity in a hot environment falls progressively as solar radiation increases.
    Article · Feb 2016
    • "fixed work rate protocols, although both methods provide a sufficient stimulus for increased heat shock protein-72 gene expression, a recent review on the topic suggests it is important to maintain the adaptation impulse to facilitate plasma volume expansion (Taylor, 2014 ). The reduced thermal strain in temperate conditions following STHADe is a novel finding with practical relevance for athletes preparing to compete under environmental conditions posing a moderate, yet still potentially limiting (Galloway & Maughan, 1997; Ely et al., 2007), thermal burden. It has been suggested that dehydration acts as an independent stimulus for HA by augmenting plasma volume expansion, which confers improved cardiovascular stability and a reduced T re , in comparison with maintaining euhydration (Garrett et al., 2011Garrett et al., , 2014). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We examined the effect of short-term heat acclimation with permissive dehydration (STHADe) on heat acclimation (HA) and cycling performance in a temperate environment. Ten trained male cyclists [mean (SD) maximal oxygen uptake: 63.3(4.0) mL/kg/min; peak power output (PPO): 385(40) W; training: 10 (3) h/week] underwent a STHADe program consisting of 5 days of exercise (maximum 90 min/day) in a hot environment (40 °C, 50% RH) to elicit isothermic heat strain [rectal temperature 38.64(0.27) °C]. Participants abstained from fluids during, and 30 min after, HA sessions. Pre- and post-STHADe HA was evaluated during euhydrated fixed-intensity exercise (60 min) in hot conditions; the effect of STHADe on thermoregulation was also examined under temperate conditions (20 min fixed-intensity exercise; 22 °C, 60% RH). Temperate cycling performance was assessed by a graded exercise test (GXT) and 20-km time trial (TT). STHADe reduced thermal and cardiovascular strain in hot and temperate environments. Lactate threshold [Δ = 16 (17) W] and GXT PPO [Δ = 6 (7) W] were improved following STHADe (P < 0.05), but TT performance was not affected (P > 0.05), although there was a trend for a higher mean power (P = 0.06). In conclusion, STHADE can reduce thermal and cardiovascular strain under hot and temperate conditions and there is some evidence of ergogenic potential for temperate exercise, but longer HA regimens may be necessary for this to meaningfully influence performance. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015
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