Kyrolainen, H., Belli, A., & Komi, P. A. (2001). Biomechanical factors affecting running economy. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 33, 1330-1337.

This study investigated the kinematics, kinetics, and muscle activity of running economy at different speeds. Young endurance runners (N = 17) ran at 12-13 different speeds. They were video recorded and measured telemetrically for EMG on selected leg muscles. Respiratory gases were collected.

Oxygen consumption and energy expenditure increased linearly with running speed. At the slowest speed, interindividual differences in running economy were noted and they increased with running speed. Joint power at the push-off increased with running speed. The biceps femoris accounted for a significant amount of energy expenditure, was active in both propulsive and recovery phases, and its amplitude increased with running speed. Poor running technique (high braking and mediolateral force production) could also explain poor economy at slow speeds in some Ss.

No exclusive biomechanical parameters were identified as explaining running economy.

Implication. While technique contributes to running economy, other factors also contribute to the phenomenon.

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