Who among us hasn't marvelled at Paul Tergat's speed in the marathon or Lance Armstrong's power in the Alps? What we're really admiring - from a scientific viewpoint, anyway - is these mega-athletes' VO2 max, one of the best indicators of aerobic
performances will suffer. When you race all-out too often, your body secretes less cortisol, a hormone that aids recovery, and it slowly becomes immune to the hormone's effects. The result is constant fatigue and a depressed immune system. A good rule of thumb
if you race for fun, in order to ensure adequate recovery. For the same reason, the longer the distance the less you should race.Heres a schedule for speedsters and fun runners for the four classic distances:Goal: Marathon for speedHow often: Once
. But even marathon runners need to develop their fast-twitch fibres for peak performance. Early on in a marathon, runners use mainly slow-twitch and a few fast-twitch type IIa fibres. As the race goes on and the muscle glycogen is depleted, however, more
of Medical Science for Sport and Exercise showed that speed at lactate threshold is the best physiological predictor of distance-running performance. Indeed, Frank Shorter, the 1972 Olympic marathon champion was said to have had a modestly high VO2max
pace, then drop the pace by two to three seconds for each successive 400mRecovery: Jog for four minutes between repeats.Ed Eyestone is an exercise physiologist and two-time Olympic marathon runner.
race in Brussels in August 2007, which means they have to run well at the Flora London Marathon at the end of the month.And then there are other runners like Eric, who rolls out of bed on Monday and decides he's going to race a 5K on Sunday after
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