Swanson, N., Pritchett, R., Nethery, V., Perkins, R., Green, A., & D'Acquisto, L. J. (2009). Physiological responses to running in trained male collegiate and master level distance runners. ACSM 56th Annual Meeting, Seattle, Washington, Presentation Number 2325.

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This study examined the physiological responses to running in similarly trained male collegiate (N = 11) and masters level (N = 9) distance runners. Oxygen uptake, heart rate, and blood lactate responses to a series of submaximal (11.3, 12.9, 14.5, and 16.1 km/hour) and one maximal run to volitional exhaustion were recorded. Body skinfolds were also assessed.

Collegiate runners had a greater VO2max, a higher maximum heart rate, and a faster maximal running speed compared to masters runners. However, peak blood lactate was similar. Heart rate was higher during the submaximal runs for collegiate runners. An ordinal interaction was found between age category and running speed for oxygen uptake with masters runners having higher VO2 values at the faster running speeds. Although body weight was the same for each group, the percent adipose tissue was lower for collegiate runners compared to masters runners.

Implication. Collegiate runners were characterized by a greater maximal aerobic power, better running economy, and tendency to sustain a faster running speed at a given metabolic load. Physiological responses declined with the aging process despite maintenance of training and competitive running.

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