The New York Times has published an article on a new study published by the Camilo José Cela University Exercise Physiology Laboratory in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness under the title: A comparison of the physiological demands imposed by competing in a half-marathon vs. a marathon.
The study, carried out by Juan del Coso, Juan J. Salinero, Beatriz Lara, Javier Abián-Vicén, César Gallo-Salazar and Francisco Areces– compares two types of endurance races: marathons and half-marathons. In particular, they focussed on the impact of dehydration and muscular damage on final times of athletes competing in these two types of races.
Marathon runners, the study found, had greater levels of muscle damage in their legs. It can be said that muscles are more affected by running a marathon than a half-marathon. Their muscles deteriorated slightly, particularly half-way through the run, and their rhythm decreased, in comparison with half-marathon runners.
Both types of race seriously affect leg muscles, and therefore training should by adapted. The study recommends runners blend strength training and explosive workouts with training runs at different speeds and distances (interval training for example) to progressively condition leg muscles to the strain of a marathon.
Ultimately, the study suggests the need for runners to prepare their muscles for the race, not simply through long distance runs. Gym training with weights and lifting free weights is recommended for muscular preparation.
The study also suggests that athletes check their water and electrolyte deficiency during races to avoid negative impacts on the body and to ensure race times.
Camilo José Cela University is among the world’s top 300 universities in Sports Science, according to the Shanghai Ranking’s Global Ranking of Sport Science Schools and Departments 2017.