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J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2018 May 2. doi: 10.23736/S0022-4707.18.08407-4. [Epub ahead of print]

Running economy and energy cost of running with backpacks.

Author information

1
Sports Medicine Department, University of Paderborn, Paderborn, Germany - volkerscheer@yahoo.com.
2
Ultra Sports Science Foundation, Lyon, France - volkerscheer@yahoo.com.
3
Sports Medicine Department, University of Paderborn, Paderborn, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Running is a popular recreational activity and additional weight is often carried in backpacks on longer runs. Our aim was to examine running economy and other physiological parameters while running with a 1kg and 3 kg backpack at different submaximal running velocities.

METHODS:

10 male recreational runners (age 25 ± 4.2 years, VO2peak 60.5 ± 3.1 ml·kg-1·min-1) performed runs on a motorized treadmill of 5 minutes durations at three different submaximal speeds of 70, 80 and 90% of anaerobic lactate threshold (LT) without additional weight, and carrying a 1kg and 3 kg backpack. Oxygen consumption, heart rate, lactate and RPE were measured and analysed.

RESULTS:

Oxygen consumption, energy cost of running and heart rate increased significantly while running with a backpack weighing 3kg compared to running without additional weight at 80% of speed at lactate threshold (sLT) (p=0.026, p=0.009 and p=0.003) and at 90% sLT (p<0.001, p=0.001 and p=0.001). Running with a 1kg backpack showed a significant increase in heart rate at 80% sLT (p=0.008) and a significant increase in oxygen consumption and heart rate at 90% sLT (p=0.045 and p=0.007) compared to running without additional weight. While running at 70% sLT running economy and cardiovascular effort increased with weighted backpack running compared to running without additional weight, however these increases did not reach statistical significance.

CONCLUSIONS:

Running economy deteriorates and cardiovascular effort increases while running with additional backpack weight especially at higher submaximal running speeds. Backpack weight should therefore be kept to a minimum.

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