Friday, November 1, 2013

The Science of Ultrarunning

More interesting information found via a study of over 1300 ultra runners examining their running habits and history. "Exercise Behavior of Ultramarathon Runners: Baseline Findings From the ULTRA Study", published in the November issue of the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, provides a scientific analysis of some of the trends in ultra distance participation and preparation.
Some statistics that jumped out at me:
  • Average age at first ultra marathon: 36 years old (I was 40)
  • Years of running prior to first ultra (3 years for yours truly):
Apparently the ultra bug bites early
It would appear that people predisposed to running ultras don't waste much time, and jump in with both feet! I can associate with that idea, as once a runner comes to terms with the notion of running further than a marathon, the thought gestates. Soon, the desire to know what lies beyond 26.2 eclipses all rationality.
  • Less than half of those studied perform resistance training. 
  • Active ultra marathon runners tend to have a high annual running distance that is diminished little with aging. In fact, it is the older ultra marathoners who tend to complete the most ultra marathons.
I love that the science surrounding ultra running is flourishing. After all, we may all be experiments of one, but together we are a phenomenon. I'm proud to be part of the spectacle.

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