The purpose of this study was to investigate possible factors which may account for differences in performance times within a closely-matched group (in terms of performance) of elite distance runners. The runners were training for competition in the 1984 Olympic Games in either the 5000 m or the 3000 m steeplechase events. Each runner's best performance time (BPT) was obtained and a stepwise regression analysis was performed with the following independent variables: age, weight, % body fat, VO2 max, aerobic threshold (AerT), and anaerobic threshold (AnT). For the 5000 m-runners, a multiple correlation of age and AnT accounted for 77% of the variance (p less than 0.02); for the 3000 m steeplechase runners, body weight alone and body weight and AnT accounted for 94% (p less than .01) and 98% (p less than .05) of the variance, respectively. The results suggest that, among elite middle-distance runners, these parameters deserve attention as potential predictors of performance.
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