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Purpose: While the physiological determinants of road running have been widely studied, there is a lack of research in trail-running racing performance. The aim of our study was to determine the physiological predictors of trail-running performance in races of different distances in similar terrain and weather conditions. Methods: Seventy-five trail runners participating in one of the races of the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc were recruited. Previous to the race, each runner was evaluated with (1) an incremental treadmill test to determine maximal oxygen uptake, ventilatory thresholds, cost of running, and substrate utilization; (2) a power–force–velocity profile on a cycle ergometer; (3) maximal voluntary contractions of the knee extensors and plantar flexors; and (4) anthropometric characteristics. Neuromuscular fatigue was evaluated after the races. Twenty-four runners finished a SHORT (<55 km), 16 finished a MEDIUM (101 km), and 14 finished a LONG (>145 km) race. Correlations and multiple linear regressions were used to find the determinants of performance in each race distance. Results: Performance in SHORT was explained by maximal oxygen uptake and lipid utilization at 10 km/h (r2 = .825, P < .001). Performance in MEDIUM was determined by maximal oxygen uptake, maximal isometric strength, and body fat percentage (r2 = .917, P < .001). A linear model could not be applied in LONG, but performance was correlated to peak velocity during the incremental test. Conclusions: Performance in trail running is mainly predicted by aerobic capacity, while lipid utilization also influences performance in races <60 km and performance in approximately 100 km is influenced by muscle strength and body composition.

Sabater Pastor, Besson, Varesco, Fanget, Koral, Rimaud, Féasson, and Millet are with the Laboratoire Interuniversitaire de Biologie de la Motricité, University Lyon, UJM-Saint-Etienne, Saint-Etienne, France. Parent is with the Dept of Biological Sciences, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM), Montreal, QC, Canada. Foschia and Féasson are with CHU Saint-Etienne, Saint-Etienne, France. Rupp is with the Interuniversity Laboratory of Human Movement Biology (LIBM), Savoy Mont Blanc University, Le Bourget du Lac, France.

Millet (guillaume.millet@univ-st-etienne.fr) is corresponding author.

Supplementary Materials

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