Laymon, A. S., Lundgren, E. A., McKenzie, J. M., Wilhite, D. P., & Chapman, R. F. (2009). Running economy changes after altitude training: Role of running mechanics. ACSM 56th Annual Meeting, Seattle, Washington. Presentation number 2360.

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This study determined if potential running economy changes after altitude training can be explained by changes in biomechanical factors. Elite male distance runners (N = 6) completed a 28-day altitude training intervention in Flagstaff, Arizona (elevation 2,150 m) following a "live high - train low" training model. Running economy and expired ventilation were measured 2-9 days prior to departure to altitude and 1-2 days after return to sea level. Running economy was determined from VO2 measured in the final minute of 3-minute stages at three constant submaximal treadmill speeds of 291, 301, and 311 m/min. To measure variables related to running mechanics, Ss completed separate 30-second stages at constant treadmill speeds of 300, 315, 330, 345, and 360 m/min. Each running stage was separated by a period of standing rest. Values of ground contact time, stride time, swing time, stride length, and stride frequency were determined from accelerometric output corresponding to foot strike and toe-off events obtained from a minimum of 25 consecutive steps.

Post-altitude VO2 was higher at each submaximal workload. No significant differences were found in ground contact time, stride time, swing time, stride length or stride frequency at any speed after altitude training.

Implication. Changes in running economy in elite endurance runners after chronic altitude training are not due to altitude mediated changes in running mechanics.

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