MARATHON PACING (II): MEN vs. WOMEN

As we talked in our previous post there are different pacing strategies (negative, positive, even and variable), and they are differently used in marathon and half-marathon races, and between young and old athletes too.

 In this post we are going to deepen more into pacing and compare if there are differences related to gender.

 

The study

The 2017 Vienna Marathon was used again to study pacing strategies using the average speed in 5 sections and the overall result (marathon, n=4807 men and n=1278 women; half-marathon, n=7624 men and n=3816 women).

 

The results

  • Surprisingly women showed no differences in pacing in all age groups. It could be attributed to a better fatigue tolerance, regardless of age.
  • When comparing by sex women showed less running variability than men.

 

Conclusions

The reasons for the differences in pacing observed between men and women could be:

Physiological:

  • Men have worse fat usage systems than women, causing an earlier depletion of glycogen stores.
  • Women have more type I muscle fibres, that are more fatigue resistant.

Psychological:

  • Women are usually less aggressive in competition, and consequently tend to start at a slower pace. Socialising and enjoyment are also contributing motivations.

 

These findings could help coaches and athletes to develop different training plans and pacing strategies considering the age group, and more importantly the sex of the athlete.

 

Bibliography

Age Differences in Pacing in Endurance Running: Comparison between Marathon and Half-Marathon Men and Women.

Cuk I, Nikolaidis PT, Markovic S, Knechtle B.

Medicina (Kaunas). 2019 Aug 14;55(8). pii: E479. doi: 10.3390/medicina55080479.

 

Sex differences in pacing during half-marathon and marathon race.

Cuk I, Nikolaidis PT, Knechtle B.

Res Sports Med. 2020 Jan-Mar;28(1):111-120. doi: 10.1080/15438627.2019.1593835

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