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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012, Article ID 810859, 9 pages
Research Article

Cardiac Output and Performance during a Marathon Race in Middle-Aged Recreational Runners

1UBIAE, U902 INSERM, University of Evry-Val-D’Essonne, 91025 Evry, France
2Sports Medicine Center, CCAS, Paris, France

Received 15 October 2011; Accepted 28 December 2011

Academic Editor: David Nieman

Copyright © 2012 Véronique L. Billat et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Purpose. Despite the increasing popularity of marathon running, there are no data on the responses of stroke volume (SV) and cardiac output (CO) to exercise in this context. We sought to establish whether marathon performance is associated with the ability to sustain high fractional use of maximal SV and CO (i.e, cardiac endurance) and/or CO, per meter (i.e., cardiac cost). Methods. We measured the SV, heart rate (HR), CO, and running speed of 14 recreational runners in an incremental, maximal laboratory test and then during a real marathon race (mean performance: 3 hr 30 min ± 45 min). Results. Our data revealed that HR, SV and CO were all in a high but submaximal steady state during the marathon (87.0 ± 1.6%, 77.2 ± 2.6%, and 68.7 ± 2.8% of maximal values, respectively). Marathon performance was inversely correlated with an upward drift in the CO/speed ratio (mL of CO×m1) (𝑟=0.65, 𝑃<0.01) and positively correlated with the runner’s ability to complete the race at a high percentage of the speed at maximal SV (𝑟=0.83, 𝑃<0.0002). Conclusion. Our results showed that marathon performance is inversely correlated with cardiac cost and positively correlated with cardiac endurance. The CO response could be a benchmark for race performance in recreational marathon runners.