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Predicting Recreational Runners’ Marathon Performance Time During Their Training Preparation

Esteve-Lanao, Jonathan1; Del Rosso, Sebastián3; Larumbe-Zabala, Eneko4; Cardona, Claudia1,5; Alcocer-Gamboa, Alberto2; Boullosa, Daniel A.6,7

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: July 01, 2019 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003199
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Esteve-Lanao, J, Del Rosso, S, Larumbe-Zabala, E, Cardona, C, Alcocer-Gamboa, A, and Boullosa, DA. Predicting marathon performance time throughout the training preparation in recreational runners. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000–000, 2019—The objective of this study was to predict marathon performance at different time points along the season using different speeds derived from ventilatory thresholds and running economy (RE). Sixteen recreational runners (8 women and 8 men) completed a 16-week marathon training macrocycle. Aerobic threshold (AeT), anaerobic threshold (AnT), and maximal oxygen uptake were assessed at the beginning of the season, whereas speeds eliciting training zones at AeT and AnT, and RE were evaluated at 5-time points during the season (M1–M5). Analyses of variance and hierarchical regression analyses were conducted. Training improved AeT and AnT speeds at M2 vs. M1 (p = 0.001) and remained significantly higher at M3, M4, and M5 (p = 0.001). There was a significant effect of time (p = 0.003) for RE, being higher at M4 and M5 compared with M1 and M3. Significant correlations were found between marathon performance and speeds at AeT and AnT at every time point (r = 0.81–0.94; p < 0.05). Speed at AnT represented the main influence (65.9 and 71.41%) in the final time prediction at M1 and M2, whereas speed at AeT took its place toward the end of the macrocycle (76.0, 80.4, and 85.0% for M3, M4, and M5, respectively). In conclusion, assessment of speeds at AeT and AnT permits for reasonable performance prediction during the training preparation, therefore avoiding maximal testing while monitoring 2 fundamental training speeds. Future research should verify if these findings are applicable to runners of different levels and other periodization models.

1All In Your Mind Training System TM, Yucatán, Mexico;

2Winhealth Medical Center, Merida, Yucatán, Mexico;

3Post-Graduate Program in Physical Education, Catholic University of Brasilia, Brasilia, Brazil;

4Clinical Research Institute, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, Texas;

5Health Sciences Faculty, University of the Valley of Mexico, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico;

6iLOAD Solutions, Brasilia, DF, Brazil; and

7Sport and Exercise Science, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia

Address correspondence to Jonathan Esteve-Lanao, jonathan.esteve@allinyourmind.es.

Copyright © 2019 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.