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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2018 Mar;50(3):510-515. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001452.

Biomechanical Implications of Training Volume and Intensity in Aging Runners.

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School of Health Studies, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN.


Running speed is slower in middle-age compared with younger runners due to reduced ankle but not hip and knee kinetic output. Running-specific training helps attenuate age-related declines in measures of endurance, muscle strength, and gait speed. Considering the adaptability of the human body in response to imposed stresses, maintaining training volume and intensity may play a role in modifying running biomechanics in middle-age runners.


To compare running biomechanics between young and middle-age runners when controlling for the confounding effects of training volume and intensity.


Fifteen middle-age runners, 15 young runners with similar training volume as the middle-age group and, 15 young runners with similar preferred training paces (i.e., intensity) as the middle-age runners participated in the study. Lower-limb joint kinetics were calculated from kinematic and ground reaction force data during overground running at a submaximal speed and compared among groups.


Middle-age runners ran with similar peak ankle power compared with volume-matched younger runners although peak plantarflexor moment was 10.5% lower in the middle age group (P = 0.046; Cohen d = 0.78). Middle-age runners ran with similar ankle plantarflexor moment and joint power compared with training pace-matched young runners. As expected, no age-related differences were observed in hip and knee kinetics when training volume or pace were matched between age groups. These results suggest that training pace may be more effective in attenuating age-related declines in plantarflexor kinetics in middle-age runners.


From these findings, we propose the hypothesis that both training volume and training pace may play a role in maintaining plantarflexor kinetics but that training pace may have a greater impact on ankle plantarflexor kinetics in middle-age runners.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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