Men may be faster but do they really outperform women in endurance sports like the marathon and Triathlon?
Not when it comes to pacing. Often the top females in Ironman ultra distance running and open water swimming can outperform men in the same race.
In my recent study on 100,000 + London marathon finishers I discovered the following
Men slowed down by 17.68% whilst females slowed 13.90% in the 2nd 13.1 miles compared to the first 13.1 miles.
In my study I also discovered that Men running sub 3 hours take on average 6% longer to run 2nd half compared to 5 hours 30 minute runners who take 29% longer to run the 2nd 13.1 miles
- Females have different characteristics to men. –
- Scientists decoding the human genome have discovered that there are just 78 genes that separate men from women.
- A typical female will be different to a man due to innate features = Height Shorter bodies longer legs hormones muscle mass body fat and aerobic capacity.
- Females have more slow twitch fibre percentage making them more adapt at coping at lactate threshold.
- Hormones – Female hormone oestrogen results in higher body fat than men. Top female marathon runner will have 8% body fat while an elite male will have just 4%
- Joints – Female joints are more flexible increasing greater range of movement.
- Strength – Females have 25>30% less lower body strength but the world’s best female marathon runners are not 25% slower than the best elite marathon men.
- Females run at conversational effort in the first 15 miles men do not. Being able to hold a conversation means you are likely to be running below your threshold.
- Using strength results on loss of power due to increased muscle proteins in the blood. This is caused by skeletal muscle damage during long distance running.
- Females are lighter than men so tend to recover better from the pounding
- Females hold back due to higher percentage of fear factor than men. – Based on my study
- Men run with their egos and females run with their heart.
- Females can improve their mental rotation when they have low estradiol during their menstrual cycle. (Mental rotational sports include team games shooting golf climbing scuba diving & gymnastics.
- Male strength – Men tend to have 40>60% greater upper body strength and 25>30 percent more lower body strength.
- Hormones – Testosterone hormone enables me to develop large skeletal muscles including a larger heart.
- Men have more Type 2 muscle fibres to generate power strength and speed.
- Males perform much better in mental rotation task than females.
- Testosterone also increases the production of red blood cells to absorb oxygen and carry away carbon dioxide.
- Men’s evolutionary history of physical competition can result in the men wanting to excel too much and this can ultimately be there down fall.
- Men have narrower hips which should reduce the incidence of injury – I have yet to see a study comparing men to females on this subject.
- Examples of elite men hitting the wall
- London marathon 2013.
- The elite group ran 1 minute too fast for the first 13.1 miles resulting in the entire field hitting the wall and slowing down, with the exception of Tsegaye Kebede believed the pace was too fast dropped off the pace but then and passed every runner in front of him to win in a comparatively slow time.
- Females tend to run with their fitness and men using their strength = running with strength
Men & Females
- Untrained males tend to have 15% body fat females tend to have 25%
- Female heart is slightly smaller in comparison to body size
About Mark Kleanthous (54 years young) London Born
Mark finished last in a school boy cross country race when he was 10 years of age. His teacher said he would never run a marathon. Mark heard about the first London marathon in 1981 and wanted to see if he could run a marathon. He did and finished in 3:01:19. Since then he has run 78 marathons (8 times London marathon) 35 years after running in the first London marathon Mark hopes to run in the 35th London marathon anniversary.
Mark has run 71 sub 3 hours and has a best time of 2:24:40. During the last 35 years he has run more than 54,500 miles and crossed the finish line in more than 1,050 races worldwide including the Marathon des Sables (6 day self-sufficient race) covering 156 miles in the Sahara desert in temperatures that exceeded 120 degrees !
Mark is an advanced performance coach
He has been coaching for more than 25 years.
The majority of his athletes are female from sub 3 hours marathon runners to ultra-endurance runners and triathletes who simply wanted to complete the distance who have exceeded their expectations with marks simple training techniques nutrition advice and pacing strategies.
Contact mark for training plans coaching advice technique coaching
London marathon study copyright
I obviously did not interview all runners in the study but have been asking runners for 25 years so have a much better idea than most people why runners slow down.
Ironmate Copyright 2015
© Ironmate 2015 London marathon study
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