Stupid question maybe - just wondering.....

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01/03/2012 at 10:09
When I started running I struggled to get below 10 min mile pace. Through training and hard work I continue to improve. My most recent race was a 10 miler at 6:55 pace and I can hit 5:55 pace on short intervals. My question is how much more can I improve through training and how much is down to genetics and age etc? I presume if I train like a Kenyan for a few years I'll improve loads more but I won't hit a sub 2:04 marathon!

Just wondering really what peoples opinions are.....
01/03/2012 at 10:55
Pretty much what you said Spoons - train more and you'll improve but you probably wont be able to train enough to hit a 2.04 marathon.

The disagreement tends to come as to what kind of level most of us could reach if we had all the time and advice about training we wanted. Personally I think most young men could get sub 2.45 given unlimited time and support and the average would be inside 2.30 but it's guesswork really isn't it - someone elses opinion might be different and be just as likely to be right.

edit - and probably more important than time and support they'd need motivation
Edited: 01/03/2012 at 10:56
01/03/2012 at 10:56

If you've got predominantly fast twitch muscle fibres you probably won't be an elite marathon runner, but you can still train to the peak of your potential and be a decent distance runner. And if you've predominantly got slow twitch, you're never going to challenge Usain Bolt. And there are loads of other factors to consider too.

So the way I'd look at it is this - genetics determines your potential, training determines how much you can tap into that potential, and both will impact your level of achievement.

01/03/2012 at 11:04
Interesting point with natural sprinters training for distance. I know the cyclist track sprinter Dave LeGrys - former elite rider and current masters world champ you can google him - took up marathon running at one point and got down to 2.38 as a veteran - so nothing like elite but not too shabby given he wasn't a full time athlete and didn't have a background in distance running. I had a short discussion with him once via pm from a forum thread elsewhere and he reckoned that natural sprinters could have more success converting to distance athletes than vice versa - something to do with fast twitch fibres converting to slow twitch better but not the other way round.
01/03/2012 at 11:20

I was under the impression that there's no interconversion between types of muscle fibre - you're born with your ration of each and that that's. You can train them, but not change between them. I could be wrong

01/03/2012 at 11:31

IIRC fast twitch fibres can and do take up the work of slow twitch fibres as and when the slow twitch ones become knackered, and this is part of the rationale for incorporating some speed work (i.e. actual speed work) in marathon training.  So the one way conversion does make sense.  It's probably on p4,365 of Noakes or something.

Kryten    pirate
01/03/2012 at 11:52
Also isn't there a third type of muscle fibre that can't make up its mind if its fast twitch or slow twitch, and basically adapts to be one or the other depending on what type of training you do?
01/03/2012 at 12:27
Interesting re: muscle fibres. I'd never heard of the 3rd type....
01/03/2012 at 12:28
popsider wrote (see)
Interesting point with natural sprinters training for distance. I know the cyclist track sprinter Dave LeGrys - former elite rider and current masters world champ you can google him - took up marathon running at one point and got down to 2.38 as a veteran - so nothing like elite but not too shabby given he wasn't a full time athlete and didn't have a background in distance running. I had a short discussion with him once via pm from a forum thread elsewhere and he reckoned that natural sprinters could have more success converting to distance athletes than vice versa - something to do with fast twitch fibres converting to slow twitch better but not the other way round.

But a top marathon runner could do 100m in 11 seconds, which is14% slower than the world record, 2:38 on the other hand, is some 22% slower than the marathon world record...

01/03/2012 at 13:28

Bubblegum Boots wrote (see)


But a top marathon runner could do 100m in 11 seconds

Pull the other one!

Here are some informative articles about the impact of training v genetics.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Hopefully also helping disproving the bollocks written by a couple of recent authors on the topic.

01/03/2012 at 14:03
Interesting articles Moraghan. So you need both genetics and training. Common sense really.

So going back to my original point, if someone starts training at, say, age 40, doesn't have any background in running or exercise, and doesn't have the perfect genetics, how good could they be with the perfect training.

I guess they could never actually train as hard as the elites as they would just get injured.

Would a sub 3 hour marathon be in range for anybody who put the hours in?
01/03/2012 at 15:37
Thie recent article on the subject is interesting http://www.sportsscientists.com/
01/03/2012 at 15:51
As are the other two parts from the same people that I linked dibbers.
01/03/2012 at 16:54
Oh, sorry Moraghan. I didn't look at your links first
01/03/2012 at 17:17
A lot of school boys can run 100m in 11 secs...
01/03/2012 at 17:29
I'm sceptical about that - 11 seconds is fast - unless by a lot you mean there are more than a handful nationally in which case maybe.
01/03/2012 at 17:33
Checking power of 10 unless I'm reading it wrong last year there were 7 under 17s who ran inside 11 seconds in the UK - maybe a couple of under 15s too (not sure if they were counted twice) - so not that many.
01/03/2012 at 19:29

Every school has about 5 boys that run faster than 11 seconds when timed by their teachers on unmeasured grass tracks.  Unfortunately in the real world sub 11 takes a lot of speed - more speed than the vast majority of top marathoners would have.

dibbers - just joking, no problem.

 

01/03/2012 at 22:44
Spoons. wrote (see)
 So going back to my original point, if someone starts training at, say, age 40, doesn't have any background in running or exercise, and doesn't have the perfect genetics, how good could they be with the perfect training. I guess they could never actually train as hard as the elites as they would just get injured. Would a sub 3 hour marathon be in range for anybody who put the hours in?

I think if you have the correct mental attitude, life doesn't get in the way, you stay relatively uninjured, and you have the correct coaching then anything is possible. 

Because everyone is different its impossible to predict what will be achieved but with all the correct measures in place you can get yourself in the best position to achieve great things.  Though maybe not the Olympics.

cougie    pirate
01/03/2012 at 23:29
Read Bounce by Mathew Sayed. He puts the case that it's largely down to training.
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