Do fast older runners pace differently from fast younger runners in the ‘new york city marathon’?
Although pacing strategies in the marathon and generally in endurance running have been well studied with regards to the effects of age group and performance level, little is known for their interaction. Thus, the aim of the present study was to examine whether fast runners of different age differ for pacing. Finishers (women, n=117,595; men, n=180,487) in the ‘New York City’ marathon between 2006 and 2016 were analyzed in 5-year age groups. To examine the effect of performance, we created performance groups according to quartiles of average race speed (Q1 - the fastest, Q2, Q3 and Q4 - the slowest). A large main effect of split on race speed was observed in women and men with the fastest speed in the 5-10 km split and the slowest in the 35-40 km. Compared to the other performance groups, the slowest group had the largest % decrease in speed at 5 km, 10 km, 15 km and 20 km but the largest % increase in speed at 35 km and 40 km. The fastest group had the least decrease during the race and the least increase at 40 km. A trivial split×age group interaction on race speed was observed for all performance groups in both sexes. This interaction was more pronounced in Q4. Based on these findings, coaches should advise their slow master runners to adopt age-tailored pacing strategy, whereas their fast master runners should adopt similar pacing as the younger fast runners.