Weight Loss During Marathon Linked to Quicker Finish Time
Runners who shed more pounds along the way completed race faster, study finds
TUESDAY, Dec. 21, 2010 (HealthDay News) -- Runners who lose 3 percent or more of their body weight during a marathon finish the quickest, researchers have found.
The study included 643 contestants who completed the 26-mile Mont Saint Michel Marathon in France in 2009. The runners were weighed immediately before and after the race. The degree of weight change ranged from an 8 percent loss to a 5 percent gain.
All of the participants were advised to drink either 250 milliliters of water or an energy drink every 20 minutes. The temperature during the marathon ranged from about 48 to 61 degrees Fahrenheit, with moderate humidity, and a strong wind.
The study findings were released online Dec. 21 in advance of publication in an upcoming print issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
The fastest runners, who finished in less than three hours, lost 3 percent of their total body weight, compared with a 2.5 percent loss of body weight for those who took between three to four hours to complete the race, and less than a 2 percent loss of body weight for those who took four hours or longer. Those who gained the most weight by drinking the most liquids performed the worse, the study authors noted.
Neither age nor gender affected weight loss during the marathon, the researchers pointed out in a news release from the journal's publisher.
The University of California, San Francisco Medical Center offers training tips for running a marathon.