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Sports Med. 2003;33(1):59-73.

Endurance training and performance in runners: research limitations and unanswered questions.

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School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska 68182, USA.


The purpose of this review is to discuss several limitations common to research concerning running and, secondly, to identify selected areas where additional research appears needed. Hopefully, this review will provide guidance for future research in terms of topics, as well as design and methodology. Limitations in the research include: lack of longitudinal studies, inadequate description of training status of individuals, lack of confirmation of state of rest, nourishment and hydration, infrequent use of allometric scaling to express oxygen uptake, relative neglect of anaerobic power and physical structure as determinants of performance, neglect of the central nervous system, and reliance on laboratory data. Further research in a number of areas is needed to enhance our knowledge of running performance. This includes: body mass as a performance determinant, evaluation of methods used to measure economy of running, assessing the link between strength and running performance, and further examination of training methods. While the amount of research on distance running is voluminous, the present state of knowledge is somewhat restricted by the limitations in research design and methodology identified here.

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