Personal Best Marathon Time and Longest Training Run, Not Anthropometry, Predict Performance in Recreational 24-Hour Ultrarunners

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Knechtle, B, Knechtle, P, Rosemann, T, and Lepers, R. Personal best marathon time and longest training run, not anthropometry, predict performance in recreational 24-hour ultrarunners. J Strength Cond Res 25(8): 2212-2218, 2011—In recent studies, a relationship between both low body fat and low thicknesses of selected skinfolds has been demonstrated for running performance of distances from 100 m to the marathon but not in ultramarathon. We investigated the association of anthropometric and training characteristics with race performance in 63 male recreational ultrarunners in a 24-hour run using bi and multivariate analysis. The athletes achieved an average distance of 146.1 (43.1) km. In the bivariate analysis, body mass (r = −0.25), the sum of 9 skinfolds (r = −0.32), the sum of upper body skinfolds (r = −0.34), body fat percentage (r = −0.32), weekly kilometers ran (r = 0.31), longest training session before the 24-hour run (r = 0.56), and personal best marathon time (r = −0.58) were related to race performance. Stepwise multiple regression showed that both the longest training session before the 24-hour run (p = 0.0013) and the personal best marathon time (p = 0.0015) had the best correlation with race performance. Performance in these 24-hour runners may be predicted (r2 = 0.46) by the following equation: Performance in a 24-hour run, km) = 234.7 + 0.481 (longest training session before the 24-hour run, km) - 0.594 (personal best marathon time, minutes). For practical applications, training variables such as volume and intensity were associated with performance but not anthropometric variables. To achieve maximum kilometers in a 24-hour run, recreational ultrarunners should have a personal best marathon time of ∼3 hours 20 minutes and complete a long training run of ∼60 km before the race, whereas anthropometric characteristics such as low body fat or low skinfold thicknesses showed no association with performance.

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