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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1999 May;31(5):717-22.

Biofeedback and relaxation techniques improves running economy in sub-elite long distance runners.

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School of Physical Education, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.



The purpose of this investigation was to determine whether a psychophysiological intervention of biofeedback and relaxation could decrease the submaximal oxygen consumption (VO2submax) during treadmill running and improve running economy for a group of trained long distance runners.


Before and after a 6-wk control phase, seven long distance runners were tested for running economy, peak oxygen consumption (VO2peak), peak running velocity, and stretch-shortening cycle efficiency. These runners then participated in a 6-wk training program in which they learned and practiced relaxation techniques and ran on the treadmill at a velocity eliciting 70% of peak running velocity for 10 min while biofeedback of heart rate (HR), ventilation (VE), and VO2 was presented to them.


Data indicated that participants were able to lower their VO2, HR, and VE at lactate threshold by 7.3%, 2.5%, and 9.2%, respectively, using relaxation techniques (P<0.05). Post-tests of lactate threshold, VO2peak, peak running velocity, and stretch-shortening cycle efficiency showed that these changes did not occur as a result of a training effect.


It was concluded that the improvements in running economy occurred as a result of the psychophysiological intervention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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