What would an 18-year-old marathon runner have in common with a 55- or 60-year-old runner, aside from powering through the same 26.2 miles?
A recent study found that they are actually likely to finish in about the same amount of time.
The study out of Camilo José Cela University in Madrid demonstrated that the relationship between marathon runners times and age is represented by a U-shape graph.
Using the times of 45,000 runners who participated in the 2010 and 2011 New York City marathon, comparing finishes with ages of the runners, who were 18 to 75 years old.
The best finishing times for men came around 27 years old, while for women it was 29 years old. Finish times were 4 percent slower for each year prior to these peak ages and 2 percent slower each year after.
“While the rate at which performance drops is moderate until the age of 55, from then on the drop becomes sharper in both male and female runners,” lead author Juan Del Coso Garrigós said.
Based on these findings, elite marathoners should consider a long-term training program that would allow them to achieve maximum performance in their late 20s.
These findings were published in the journal Age.