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J Appl Physiol (1985). 1987 Sep;63(3):1236-45.

Relationship between distance running mechanics, running economy, and performance.

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  • 1Department of Physical Education, University of California, Davis 95616.


The relationships between biocmechanical aspects of distance running, running economy (VO2 submax), and performance were investigated. A variety of biomechanical measures for 31 subjects running at 3.6 m/s was obtained, including three-dimensional angular and translational kinematics, ground reaction forces and center of pressure patterns, mechanical power, and anthropometric measures. Physiological measures obtained included maximal and submaximal O2 consumption, muscle fiber composition, and measures of the ability to store and return elastic energy during knee bends. A subset of 16 runners was also evaluated in relation to performance in a 10-km run. Biomechanical variables were identified which showed significant differences or consistent trends between groups separated on the basis of VO2 submax, establishing the importance of biomechanical influences on running economy. It appears that no single variable or small subset of variables can explain differences in economy between individuals but rather that economy is related to a weighted sum of the influences of many variables.

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