Research & Investigations in Sports Medicine

Does Age Have Different Influence between Mountain and City Marathons? - An Analysis from Switzerland

  • Open or Close Benedikt Gasser*

    University of Berne, Switzerland

    *Corresponding author: Benedikt Gasser, University of Berne, Zellmoosweg 33, 6210 Sursee, Switzerland, Email: benedikt.gasser@yahoo.com

Submission: November 02, 2017; Published: February 21, 2018

Volume1 Issue5
February 2018


Aging results in decreasing physical capabilities. Different organ systems with high relevance for endurance capacity underlie changes whereby especially cardiovascular, pulmonary, skeletal muscle and endocrine system can be mentioned. That these biological constraints yield to an optimal age for middle distances in running with around 20 to 30 years is generally known and the fact that longer distances such as marathons or ultra-races have a higher optimal age around 40 is generally accepted. Little evidence exists concerning the interaction between age and topography of a course (flat versus mountainous). When comparing for double starters running times in Napfmarathon (in a mountainous region in the heart of Switzerland) with City marathons of Zürich, Lausanne, Winterthur and Lucerne from 2011-2016 optimal age for runners were in both races around 35 years. Furthermore, the decrease in age-associated performance was smaller in Napfmarathon compared to City Marathons. This is probably due to a total higher work load in Napfmarathon as a result of height difference. This is supported by the fact that optimal age increases with increase of total amount of performance. Furthermore, in mountain courses a higher share of eccentric muscle work is probably necessary especially in downhill running what might explain the smaller association between age and mountain marathons. Further, elasticity of collagen structures such as ligaments or tendons which degenerate during aging may play an important role. In flat courses such as city marathons where proper running movement is possible a higher workload can be performed with these structures. From a performance point of view, it is likely to suppose that with special training such as stretching; Black Roll or Jump Training collagen associated performance can be preserved or even improved while aging.

Keywords: Age; Performance capacity; Topography; Marathon; Mountain marathon

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