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Age Differences in Pacing in Endurance Running: Comparison between Marathon and Half-Marathon Men and Women

Faculty of Physical Education and Sports Management, Singidunum University, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
Exercise Physiology Laboratory, 18450 Nikaia, Greece
School of Health and Caring Sciences, University of West Attica, 11244 Athens, Greece
Institute of Primary Care, University of Zurich, 8006 Zürich, Switzerland
Medbase St. Gallen Am Vadianplatz, 9000 St. Gallen, Switzerland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Medicina 2019, 55(8), 479;
Received: 24 June 2019 / Revised: 8 August 2019 / Accepted: 12 August 2019 / Published: 14 August 2019
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Background and Objective: The increased popularity of marathons and half-marathons has led to a significant increase in the number of master runners worldwide. Since the age-related decrease in performance is dependent on race duration, pacing in long distance running might also vary by race distance in both men and women. Therefore, the main aim of this study was to assess pacing differences between marathon and half-marathon runners with regard to the runners’ age group, and independently for men and women. Materials and Methods: In total, 17,465 participants in the Vienna City marathon in 2017 were considered for this study (marathon, N = 6081; half-marathon, N = 11,384). Pacing was expressed as two variables (i.e., pace range and end spurt). Results: All runners showed positive pacing strategies (i.e., a fast start with gradual decrease of speed). However, marathon runners showed greater variability in pacing than half-marathon runners. Furthermore, women showed no differences in pace variability in regard to the age group, whereas men younger than 30 years of age, as well as older men (over the age of 60), showed a greater variability in pace than other age groups. Finally, younger half-marathon men and women showed the fastest end spurt compared to older age groups and marathon runners. Conclusions: The presented findings could help sports and medicine practitioners to create age specific training plans and pacing strategies. This approach could help long distance runners to improve their physical fitness, achieve better race times, reduce the potential risk of musculoskeletal injuries and increase the overall pleasure of long distance running. View Full-Text
Keywords: aerobic endurance; running; pacing strategy; aging; health aerobic endurance; running; pacing strategy; aging; health

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Cuk, I.; Nikolaidis, P.T.; Markovic, S.; Knechtle, B. Age Differences in Pacing in Endurance Running: Comparison between Marathon and Half-Marathon Men and Women. Medicina 2019, 55, 479.

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