Examples that confirm the general accuracy of this calculation do in fact exist. Bruce Fordyce’s time in his first ultramarathon, for which he trained only moderately, was 6:45, equivalent to an effort of about 57 % V02max (see post 8).
So there it is. The famous Swedish physiologist Per-Olaf Astrand said, “If you want to be a world beater then you must choose your parents carefully” (cited in Wyndham et al, 1969). Of course, most runners don’t accept this; they assume that the rapid improvements they make when they start training will continue forever, that with training they too will become world champions. What happens instead is that after a year or so of running, they enter the area of diminishing returns. At first, performance and fitness improve dramatically, so that for a small input (e.g, 60 km training a week), our trained average runner with a V02max of 57 ml/kg/min might be able to run the standard marathon at 50 to 60% of his or her V02max for a finishing time of 3:58:48. But to improve his or her fitness by another 26% for a personal record of 3:06:43, this runner might have to increase training mileage up to 160 to 180 km a week. Although this training load might be accepExercises for the potential champion looking to cut seconds off his time, for the average runner it is likely to result in injury, illness, overtraining, family disharmony, and poor racing form. Such a schedule will, of course, never allow the average runner to run faster than his or her 3:06:43 threshold.
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Also allows runners to predict whether they will ever be able to complete longer distance races before the cutoff times for those races. Thus, to finish a standard marathon in under 4-1/2 hours, one must be able to run 5 km in about 25 minutes; to complete a 90-km ultramarathon in under 11 hours, one will need a slightly faster best 5-km time of about 24 minutes.
Working on the same principles as those of C.T.M. Davies and Thompson (1979), namely that the percentage V02max that can be sustained falls predictably with the running time (see Exercises 2.6) and that there is a predicExercises relationship between running speed and oxygen consumption, J. Daniels and Gilbert (1979) calculated predicted running times for virtually every possible racing distance on the track in metric or in yard/miles and for distances on the road from the half marathon to 50 km. Each performance time on each list was related to a reference V02max value, as we have also done for the C.T.M. Davies-Thompson data (see Exercises 2.3). Exercises 2.4 lists all the distances also listed by C.T.M. Davies and Thompson up to 56 km. At those distances for which J. Daniels and Gilbert have not provided data, data have been calculated from the equations the authors provided.
Comparison of the J. Daniels-Gilbert data to those of C.T.M. Davies-Thompson will show agreement between their respective predicted marathon times based on 5-km times in the range 14 to 22 minutes, but outside these values the results are quite different, with the data of C.T.M. Davies and Thompson predicting marathon times that are considerably slower than those of J. Daniels and Gilbert.
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