Biological clocks have sizeable effects on the performance of elite athletes. This conclusion was drawn by chronobiologists from the University of Groningen after studying the times achieved by swimmers in four different Olympic Games. Shifting the clock to reach peak performance at the right time could make the difference between winning and losing. The results were published on 8 October in the journal Scientific Reports.
‘In many sports, the differences between coming first or second, or winning no medal at all, are very small,’ explains Renske Lok, first author of the paper and former PhD student at the University of Groningen. ‘We wondered whether an athlete’s biological clock was playing a role.’ This clock determines our bodies’ daily rhythms: it regulates physiological characteristics such as core body temperature and blood glucose levels. ‘And we know that peak performance usually coincides with the peak in core body temperature,’ says Lok.
Each year, thousands of elite and amateur runners compete in the London Marathon. Last year, 42,000 people completed the 26.2-mile course that spans across the British capital, with thousands of people lining the streets to lend their support.
The marathon is an opportunity to achieve personal goals and raise millions of dollars for charitable causes.
But running a mass participation event in the era of Coronavirus is impossible and marathons across the globe have been canceled or postponed, much to the disappointment of those who had spent months training and fundraising for their big day in the limelight.
London hopes things will return to normal for the 2021 event but in the meantime, the 40th staging of the event will take place in a secure bubble in St James Park. Just 100 elite athletes will compete in the men’s, women’s and wheelchair races,