Runners are able to last-long in a marathon because of a special protein

A sprinter might have some bigger muscles compared to that of a marathon runner, but they can’t outrun a runner in a marathon race. Their muscles are not conditioned for long distance running and will feel fatigue easily. A new study suggests that, during endurance exercise,the protein PGC-1α shifts the metabolic profile in the muscle.

Marathon runners run longer than other athletes because they have a special training
Marathon runners run longer than other athletes because of their special training

The results can be seen in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Marathon runners undergo a special training program just to last long in running. Their bodies are able to utilize the air around them to its full potential because of their training. Other athletes conditioned their muscle to a state wherein their muscles generates without oxygen. As a result, they tire easier than a runner because of fatigue.

Less Lactate with Endurance Training

Why is there a difference? The muscle has to swap their metabolism throughout endurance training. Significantly, the muscle gets stimulate to produce protein PGC-1α. Mice that have a lastingly increased PGC-1α develop the same high endurance muscles such as that of a trained athlete. In the study, Prof. Christoph Handschin of the Biozentrum, University of Basel and his colleagues were able to prove that the development of PGC-1α in mice prevents the formation and accumulation of lactate in the muscles. To do this, the mice were trained to last long on a treadmill. After a few minutes of training, the lactic acid of untrained mice dramatically increased, which is followed by fatigue. Mice with a high PGC-1α, however, were able to main their level of performance until the end of the test. Their lactate didn’t show any change despite a high training load.


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