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Relationship Between Running Economy and Kinematic Parameters in Long-Distance Runners

Pizzuto, Federico1; de Oliveira, Camila Fonseca2,3; Soares, Tania Socorro Amorim2,3; Rago, Vincenzo2,4; Silva, Gustavo5; Oliveira, José5

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: July 2019 - Volume 33 - Issue 7 - p 1921–1928
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003040
Original Research

Pizzuto, F, Fonseca de Oliveira, C, Amorim Soares, TS, Rago, V, Silva, G, and Oliveira, J. Relationship between running economy and kinematic parameters in long-distance runners. J Strength Cond Res 33(7): 1921–1928, 2019—The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between running economy (RE) and sagittal, frontal, and transverse plane kinematic parameters in long-distance runners. A secondary purpose was to identify the kinematic predictors of RE during running at the lowest RE value, representing an individual's most efficient running intensity. Twenty recreational long-distance runners ran 3 submaximal stages on a treadmill (65, 75, and 85% of velocity at maximum oxygen consumption). Respiratory data were collected using a portable gas analysis system. Kinematics were gathered using passive retroreflective markers and 8 high-resolution infrared cameras to collect the respective trajectories. Hip, knee, and ankle angles at foot strike and stance phase, as well as spatio-temporal parameters were calculated during each gait cycle. Knee flexion/extension range of motion (ROM), knee ab/adduction ROM, and hip ab/adduction ROM during the stance phase of the gait cycle showed positive moderate to large correlations with RE (r ± 90% confidence intervals = 0.51 ± 0.29; 0.49 ± 0.30; 0.53 ± 0.28, respectively). Knee and hip ab/adduction ROMs during the stance phase are predictors of RE, accounting for 44% of RE variance. Therefore, sagittal and frontal plane kinematics affect RE-inducing alterations in running performance. Coaches, athletic trainers, and anyone involved in running training prescription should consider a relationship between these parameters to ensure optimal technique and, consequently, to improve RE in recreational long-distance runners.

1High Performance Department, Columbus Crew SC, Columbus, Ohio;

2Center of Research, Education, Innovation and Intervention in Sport (CIFI2D), Faculty of Sport, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal;

3Porto Biomechanics Laboratory, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal;

4Portugal Football School, Portuguese Football Federation, Oeiras, Portugal; and

5Research Center in Physical Activity, Health and Leisure (CIAFEL), Faculty of Sport, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal

Address correspondence to Federico Pizzuto,

Copyright © 2019 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.