Rearfoot Striking Runners Are More Economical than Midfoot Strikers.
AuthorsOgueta-Alday A, et al. Show all Journal
Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2013 Aug 30. [Epub ahead of print]
Department of Physical Education and Sports, Institute of Biomedicine (IBIOMED), University of León, León, Spain.
PURPOSE: To analyze the influence of foot strike pattern on running economy and biomechanical characteristics in sub-elite runners with a similar performance level.
METHODS: Twenty sub-elite long-distance runners participated and were divided into two groups according to their foot strike pattern: rearfoot (RF, n= 10) and midfoot strikers (MF, n= 10). Anthropometric characteristics were measured (height, body mass, BMI, skinfolds, circumferences and lengths); physiological (V˙O2max, anaerobic threshold and running economy) and biomechanical characteristics (contact and flight times, step rate and step length) were registered during both incremental and submaximal tests on a treadmill.
RESULTS: There were no significant intergroup differences in anthropometrics, V˙O2max or anaerobic threshold measures. RF strikers were 5.4, 9.3 and 5.0% more economical than MF at submaximal speeds (11, 13 and 15 km·h respectively, though the difference was not significant at 15 km·h, p=0.07). Step rate and step length were not different between groups, but RF showed longer contact time (p<0.01) and shorter flight time (p<0.01) than MF at all running speeds.
CONCLUSIONS: The present study showed that habitually rearfoot striking runners are more economical than midfoot strikers. Foot strike pattern affected both contact and flight times, which may explain the differences in running economy.
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