March 9, 2007


Training Characteristics of Qualifiers for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, with comparisons made between men and women and elite and national-class runners, is published in the March, 2007 issue ofInternational Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance

The research, conducted by Indiana University Ph.D. candidate Jason Karp, found little consensus about the best way to train, and as many as 46 percent of the men and 29 percent of the women trained alone and without a coach.  All athletes who qualified for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials held in February and April, 2004 were asked questions about physical characteristics including age, height, and weight, and about training history, including use of a coach, years of training, and use of altitude.  The survey also asked about high school and college performances, and detailed year-long training characteristics, including average and peak weekly mileage, weekly distance at specific intensities, and frequency of training.  To read the article, go to 63qYsFZ262kVnRg762ePfPsu67sMaJ2j62e&aid=7107&site=67yEp3ny63q YsFZ262kVnRg762ePfPsu67sMaJ2j62e.

“That many of these athletes train alone and/or without a coach is an anomaly among Olympic sports, and is a certain beckon for the need to organize coached training groups for marathoners who exhibit potential,” said Jason Karp, the study’s author, who is also a running and sports performance coach and freelance writer.  “The findings of this study may help coaches and runners understand the volume and intensity of training that it takes to achieve national- or elite-level status in the marathon.  Since the science of training and performance often lags behind the training practices of elite athletes, these findings may also help scientists understand how much and what types of training influence marathon running performance.”

Karp, whose past research has been published in International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, is currently working on his doctoral dissertation, which examines the coordination of breathing and stride rate in elite distance runners. 

The International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance is dedicated to advancing the knowledge of sport and exercise physiologists, sports-performance researchers, and other sports scientists. The journal’s mission is to publish authoritative research in sports physiology and related disciplines, with an emphasis on work having direct practical applications in enhancing sports performance in sports physiology and related disciplines.  For more information, and to subscribe to the journal, go to is a science-based coaching, consulting, and writing company.  For more information, and to subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter, go to

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