Distance runner Paula Radcliffe has won dozens of long-distance races and held the women's world record for the marathon since 2003. Scientists, trainers, and athletes alike have wondered about the extent to which muscle structure and function contribute to success in athletes such as Radcliffe. What makes elite distance runners so good? Are their muscles somehow different from those of less successful athletes and non-athletes?
The researchers looked more closely at the data within the group of elite runners. Although the mean proportion of slow fibers was 79 percent in this group, individual values ranged from 27 percent in one runner to 98 percent in another. How does this finding affect your interpretation of the relationship between athletic performance and muscle-fiber types?
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