Similarities and differences among half-marathon runners according to their performance level.
PLoS One. 2018 ;13(1):e0191688. Epub 2018 Jan 24. PMID: 29364940
This study aimed to identify the similarities and differences among half-marathon runners in relation to their performance level. Forty-eight male runners were classified into 4 groups according to their performance level in a half-marathon (min): Group 1 (n = 11,<70 min), Group 2 (n = 13,<80 min), Group 3 (n = 13,<90 min), Group 4 (n = 11,<105 min). In two separate sessions, training-related, anthropometric, physiological, foot strike pattern and spatio-temporal variables were recorded. Significant differences (p<0.05) between groups (ES = 0.55-3.16) and correlations with performance were obtained (r = 0.34-0.92) in training-related (experience and running distance per week), anthropometric (mass, body mass index and sum of 6 skinfolds), physiological (VO2max, RCT and running economy), foot strike pattern and spatio-temporal variables (contact time, step rate and length). At standardized submaximal speeds (11, 13 and 15 km·h-1), no significant differences between groups were observed in step rate and length, neither in contact time when foot strike pattern was taken into account. In conclusion, apart from training-related, anthropometric and physiological variables, foot strike pattern and step length were the onlybiomechanical variables sensitive to half-marathon performance, which are essential to achieve high running speeds. However, when foot strike pattern and running speeds were controlled (submaximal test), the spatio-temporal variables were similar. This indicates that foot strike pattern and runningspeed are responsible for spatio-temporal differences among runners of different performance level.