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Pre- and postmarathon training habits of nonelite runners

Authors Voight AM, Roberts B, Lunos S, Chow

Published 3 March 2011 Volume 2011:2 Pages 13—18


Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Angela M Voight1, William O Roberts1, Scott Lunos2, Lisa S Chow3
1Department of Family Medicine and Community Health; 2Biostatistical Design and Analysis Center, Clinical and Translational Science Institute; 3Department of Medicine, Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA

Background: Despite the increasing popularity of marathons, little research has examined the training habits of nonelite marathon runners. Given that nonelite runners, particularly those with a competitive motive, have a higher risk for injury than experienced elite runners, it is important for physicians to understand the training program and features that might distinguish running performance and injury rates in this population.
Hypothesis: We hypothesized that nonelite runners who qualify for the Boston Marathon (“qualifiers”) would have higher running volumes, more running sessions per week, lower injury rates, and lower body mass index (BMI) than nonqualifying runners.
Study design: A cross-sectional Web-based survey of runners (convenience sample) at 1 month (n = 50) and 6 months (n = 41) after participation in the 2008 Twin Cities Marathon (TCM) that acquired data on anthropometric measures, demographic data, finishing time, premarathon/current training program, and self-reported injury.
Results: Thirteen of 50 initial survey respondents were classified as a “qualifier” based on their finishing time. Mean BMI was significantly lower in the qualifiers at 1 month (22.0 versus 23.9 kg/m2, P = 0.0267) but not 6 months postmarathon. There were no significant differences in training volume (running frequency, run length, or cross-training volume) or injury rates between qualifiers and nonqualifiers. Prior to the 2008 TCM, 54% of runners included cross-training in their exercise program, which increased significantly to 74% 1 month postmarathon (P = 0.0039) and 71% 6 months postmarathon (P = 0.0325). There was no association between cross-training and injury rates.
Conclusions: Nonelite marathon runners had a high degree of cross-training in their training program. Qualifiers for the Boston Marathon did not significantly differ in running frequency, run length, or cross-training volume compared with nonqualifiers. Whether changes in the training program at an individual level might facilitate a change in qualifying status remains to be determined.

Keywords: training, marathon, cross-training, BMI

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