A recent medical study authored in part by Carl Foster, a professor of exercise and sport science at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, is concluding that the winning distance runners, like those competing in the marathon event at the Beijing games, are not succesful because they are “running harder” but rather they “have a better, bigger motor”.
The study keyed on the heart rate of the runners and found:
The pattern of heart rate response during an event was very similar in all athletes, even though their running performance and times varied. This suggests, the authors write, that “adept runners are faster due to their underlying physiological capacity rather than because they put more relative effort into their competition.”
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