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Abstract

The purpose of this study was twofold: 1) to describe variability of pacing during a marathon and 2) to determine if there is a relationship between variability of pacing and marathon performance. Publically available personal global positioning system profiles from two marathons (Race 1 n = 116, Race 2 n = 169) were downloaded (http://connect.garmin.com) for analysis. The coefficient of variation of velocity (Velcov) was calculated for each profile. Each profile was categorized as finishing in under 3.9 hours, between 3.9 and 4.6 hours, or longer than 4.6 hours. Linear and quadratic lines of best fit were computed to describe the relationship between marathon finish time and Velcov. A 2 (Race) x 3 (bin) analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to compare the dependent variable (Velcov) between races and the marathon bin finish times. Velcov was not influenced by the interaction of finish time bin and Race (p>0.05) and was not different between races (Race 1: 16.6 ± 6.4%, Race 2: 16.8 ± 6.6%, p>0.05). Velcov was different between finish time categories (p<0.05) for each race such that Velcov was lower for faster finish times. Using combined data from both races, linear (marathon finish time = marathon finish time = 0.09Velcov + 2.9, R^2 = 0.46) and quadratic (marathon finish time = -0.0006 Velcov 2 + 0.11 Velcov + 2.7, R^2 = 0.46) lines of best fit were significant (p<0.05). Slower marathon finishers had greater variability of pace compared to faster marathoner finishers.