This study examined the effect of performance level on the validity and accuracy of middle-distance running-performance predictions obtained from the nomogram of Mercier et al in male runners.
Official French track-running rankings for the 3000-, 5000-, and 10,000-m events from 2006 to 2014 were examined. The performance level was determined from the official reference table of the Fédération Française d’Athlétisme, and the runners were divided in 3 groups (ie, low, moderate, and high levels). Only male runners who performed in the 3 distance events within the same year were included (N = 443). Each performance over any distance was predicted using the nomogram from the 2 other performances.
No difference was found in low- and moderate-performance-level athletes (0.02 ≤ effect size [ES] ≤ 0.06, 95% limits of agreement [LoA] ≤ 6%). By contrast, a small difference in high-performance-level athletes (P < .01, 0.23 ≤ ES ≤ 0.45, 95% LoA ≤ 11.6%) was found.
The study confirms the validity of the nomogram to predict track-running performance with a high level of accuracy, except for male runners with high performance level (ie, national or international). Consequently, the predictions from the nomogram may be used in training programs (eg, to prescribe tempo runs with realistic training velocities) and competitions (eg, to plan realistic split times to reach the best performance).