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MEDICINA DELLO SPORT

A Journal on Sports Medicine


Official Journal of the Italian Sports Medicine Federation
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Medicina dello Sport 1998 June;51(2):221-5

language: English

Running performance and aerobic working capacity in female runners

Nurmekivi A. 1, Lemberg H. 2, Maaroos J. 3, Lusti J. 1, Jurimae T. 1

1 Institute of Sport Pedagogy, niversity of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia;
2 Sport Centre, niversity of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia;
3 Department of Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia


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The aim of this study was to determine which physiological variables are most representative in running performance in middle- to long distance female runners. Twenty runners, ranging from club to international level, were divided into three groups: (A) 400-800 m runners (n=8); (B) 1500-3000 m runners (n=7); and (C) half marathon runners (n=5). Maximal O2 consumption (.VO2max), anaerobic threshold (AT), aerobic threshold (AERT) and running economy (RE) at running speed of 13 km/h were measured. .VO2max/kg was the lowest in a group A and the highest in a group C (52.0±2.6 - 59.9±2.4 ml·min-1·kg-1, p<0.05 - 0.01). .VO2/kg at AERT was lowest in a group A (p<0.05) and the heart rate (HR) at the same intensity was lowest in a group C (p<0.05). Running economy calculated as a percentage from .VO2max/kg and HRMAX was the lowest in a group C (p<0.01). In group A the .VO2 at AT and AERT correlated significantly (both r=-0.65, p<0.05) with running performance. In a group B, only RE (as % from .VO2max/kg) correlated significantly (r = 0.90, p<0.01) with running performance. In a group C only the body weight influenced negatively the running performance (r= -0.94, p<0.01). When all used physiological variables were entered into a forward stepwise multiple-regression procedure only in a group B the RE accounted for 94.9% (R2) of the variance in running performance results. It was concluded that in homogenous groups of female middle- and long distance runners only RE can account for a large part of the running performance in middle distance runners.

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