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Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2007 Mar;2(1):72-92.

Training characteristics of qualifiers for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.

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Department of Kinesiology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA.



To describe and compare training characteristics of the 2004 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifiers.


All qualifiers (104 men, 151 women) received questionnaires. Ninety-three (37 men, 56 women) responded and were categorized as elite (men <2 hours 15 min, women <2 hours 40 min) or national class.


Men and women ran 75% and 68% of their weekly training distance, respectively, below marathon race pace. Men trained longer than women (12.2 +/- 5.3 vs 8.8 +/- 5.6 years), ran more often (8.7 +/- 2.8 vs 7.1 +/- 2.5 times/wk), and ran farther (145.3 +/- 25.6 vs 116.0 +/- 26.5 km/wk). Elite women ran more than national-class women (135.8 +/- 31.5 vs 111.3 +/- 23.3 km/wk). Distances run at specific intensities were similar between sexes. For men and women, respectively, 49% and 31% did not have a coach and 65% and 68% trained alone. Marathon performance correlated to 5-km, 10-km, and half-marathon performance and to years training, average and peak weekly distance, number of weekly runs, and number of runs > or = 32 km for women.


Among U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifiers, there is no consensus as to how to prepare for the marathon beyond running at a pace slower than race pace. Weekly training distance seems to influence women's marathon performance more than it does men's. Because many of these athletes train alone and without a coach, further research is warranted on the reasons that these athletes train the way they do.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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