After the introductory video dedicated to the most important variables in marathon performance, we continue to explore the topic with Domenico Carlomagno. “In scientific literature, the main validated physiological factors that affect long-distance running performance are: maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max), peak velocity of maximum oxygen consumption (vVO2max), running economy (RE) and changes in lactate levels” explains the sports technician and fitness trainer at the Mapei Sport Research Centre.

“Through functional assessment tests, you will be able to determine your fitness by monitoring: your aerobic threshold speed (VT1; around 50-60% of VO2max speed or with Lactate values ± 2 mmol/l); your anaerobic threshold speed (VT2; around 85% of VO2max speed or with Lactate values ± 4 mmol/l); and what your peak speed is at 100% of VO2max or a maximal incremental test” the expert continues.

Morphological and anthropometric characteristics such as fat mass percentage, circumferences, lower limb length, weight, and height would appear to influence long-term performance. Consequently, certain characteristics have an excellent relationship between energy expenditure and performance. “The BMI of an adult male top runner, on average, is 18.5 kg/m2, with a fat mass percentage of less than 6 per cent, with long levers and a small thigh section. But be careful, values that are too low can be disadvantageous” warns the trainer at the Varese centre.