Spencer, M. D., Baxter-Jones, A. D., Drinkwater, D. T., & Mirwald, R. L. (2003). Does maturity status affect running economy in adolescent boys? Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 35(5), Supplement abstract 116.

"As a group, elite adolescent runners are reported to be slightly delayed in maturity status. It is known that performance is related to running economy (RE). Lower values of VO2 at a given submaximal workload are indicative of superior RE. Although RE is known to improve with increasing chronological age, it is speculated that RE may also be related to maturity status" (p. S23).

Males (N = 138) were studied for nine years from an entry age of 8 years. Height, body mass, peak height velocity related to chronological age as an index of biological maturity, and oxygen consumption in a voluntary exhaustion treadmill run were measured. Maturity was determined as being early, average, or late.

Body mass was related to maturity. No differences between maturity groups were found for submaximal VO2 at ages 8, 9, and 16 years. However, at ages 10 through 15, submaximal VO2 was significantly different between maturity groups. Early maturers recorded higher values than late maturers.

Implication. Male early maturers between the ages of 10 and 15 exhibit better running economy than late maturers.

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