Indirect calorimetry during ultradistance running: A case report

Charles L. Dumke, Lesli Shooter, Robert H. Lind, David C. Nieman

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10 Scopus citations


The purpose was to determine the energy expenditure during ultradistance trail running. A portable metabolic unit was carried by a male subject for the first 64.5 km portion of the Western States 100 running race. Calibrations were done with known gases and volumes at ambient temperature, humidity and pressure (23-40.5°C and 16-40% respectively). Altitude averaged 1692.8 ± 210 m during data collection. The male subject (36 yrs, 75 kg, VO2max of 67.0 ml·kg-1·min-1) had an average (mean±SD) heart rate of 132 ± 9 bpm, oxygen consumption of 34.0±6.8 ml·kg-1·min-1, RER of 0.91 ± 0.04, and VE of 86.0 ± 14.3 L·min -1during the 21.7 km measuring period. This represented an average of 51% VO2max and 75% heart rate maximum. Energy expenditure was 12.6 ± 2.5 kcals·min-1, or 82.7 ± 16.6 kcals·km-1 (134 ± 27 kcals·mile-1) at 68.3 ± 12.5% carbohydrate. Extrapolation of this data would result in an energy expenditure of >13,000 kcals for the 160 km race, and an exogenous carbohydrate requirement of >250 kcal·hr-1. The energy cost of running for this subject on separate, noncompetitive occasions ranged from 64.9 ± 8.5 to 74.4 ± 5.5 kcals·km-1 (105 ± 14 to 120 ± 9 kcals·mile-1). Ultradistance trail running increases energy expenditure above that of running on nonundulating terrain, which may result in underestimating energy requirements during these events and subsequent undernourishment and suboptimal performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)692-698
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Sports Science and Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Caloric expenditure
  • Energy expenditure
  • Running economy


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