A recent study found that our genetics can affect our success in running a marathon. Running a marathon requires great effort from our respiratory, cardiovascular and muscular systems. During a marathon, a runner will complete around 30,000 strides and with each stride the legs bare 1.5 to 3 times the runner’s body weight. This causes muscle deterioration which causes the muscles to lose the ability to gain strength. Also, the proteins of the damaged muscles are released into the blood stream, so they can be measured by measuring the amount of myoglobin in the blood. This study looked at 71 marathon runners and how genetics affects muscle damage. The results showed that there are some marathon runners who show low levels of muscle deterioration after a marathon and others who show great muscle damage. The researchers looked specifically at seven genes that are known to be related to muscle function and each gene was given a score. Marathon runners who were given a high score had good muscle genetics and showed low muscle deterioration, while runners with a low score had muscle genetics were not as good and showed muscle damage after the race. The runners who scored lower genetic scores can still run marathons, but they will need to do a specific type of training in order to not have muscle deterioration. This discovery will hopefully allow researchers to find new ways for athletes to train according to their genetics and in the future, possibly even allow runners to measure their genetics to know how they should train for a marathon.
This similar study looked at 30 genes that affect a persons ability to run marathons, but has a slightly different view on how that affects that runners.