Billat, V., Demarle, A., Paiiva, M., & Koralsztein, J. P. (2002). Effect of training on the physiological factors of performance in elite marathon runners (males and females). International Journal of Sports Medicine, 23, 336-341.

Olympic trial marathon runners (M = 5: F = 4) were studied during eight weeks of specific marathon running before the trials. Testing occurred 10 and 2 weeks before the trials. Training consisted of average weekly distances between 180 km for males and 155 km for females. Training velocity was at 10 Km pace for 11% (males) and 7% (females) of the training volume.

VO2peak increased but the oxygen costs of running at marathon velocity (running economy) did not change. Other factors associated with marathon running were not improved (e.g., accumulated blood lactate). Generally, 10-km training did not affect marathon performance when undertaken in the lead-up period to running a marathon. It did affect some physiological variables associated with 10-km running.

Implication. Specific training can affect physiological variables without affecting performance on another event. Preparing for a marathon by doing 10-km specific training will not improve marathon running performance but may improve 10-km performance.

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