Do your genes determine your running performance?
For beginners, it can be one of the most frustrating things in life. Knowing that when you have put in all that effort in to your training, but it has hadn’t much effect can be a soul-crushing blow to your fitness plans.
Not seeing the desired level of improvement, despite being highly committed to your routine, can sap the motivation out of anyone. You may be putting in the same hours as your running buddies; and yet, when it comes to finishing times, you find yourself lagging behind the rest of the group. This can also lead to lower confidence levels and motivation.
Over the last couple of decades, scientists in the genetic field have put in a lot of thought and research into what makes some athletes perform naturally better than others, and whether some human beings have a genetic advantage of running long distances. From case studies involving athletes in Africa, their dietary and environmental conditions, to the identification of specific genes that determine our responses to stamina training, research has effectively pointed out more than one link between our genetic makeup and performance on the track.
So should you be retiring your running shoes and halting your progress over your genes? The answer may not be so simple. Click here to read the full story. Or keep scrolling for a small summary.
For example, some suggest that due to their outsized lung capacity and a preponderance of slow-twitch muscles, East Africans have the “perfect biomechanical package” for long-distance running. This same combination, however, makes them apparently unsuited for sports that require explosive anaerobic bursts, like football, sprinting or heavy lifting.
This story on mobiefit.com says a team of researchers based at Loughborough University have also developed a DNA test that can help predict marathon-running performance. “They (the researchers) found more than 100 genes that determine how a person adapts to endurance training, and reached the conclusion that nearly a fifth of the population lacks this combination. Essentially, those who have the genes adapt really well to endurance training and can run faster for longer, while those who don’t will not develop the same endurance capacity,” as stated in this article.