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The anthropometry of economical running

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journal contribution
posted on 02.10.2019 by Matthew I Black, Sam Allen, Steph Forrester, Jonathan Folland
The influence of anthropometry and body composition on running economy is unclear, with previous investigations involving small relatively homogeneous groups of runners and limited anthropometric/composition measurements. PURPOSE: To comprehensively investigate the relationships of anthropometry and body composition with running economy within a large heterogeneous sample of runners. METHODS: Eighty-five runners (Males (M), n=45; Females (F) n=40), of diverse competitive standard, performed a discontinuous protocol of incremental treadmill running (4 min stages, 1 km·h increments) to establish locomotory energy cost (LEc) of running at submaximal speeds (averaged across 10-12 km·h; the highest common speed < lactate turnpoint). Measurements of anthropometry, including segment lengths, perimeters, masses and moments of inertia (MoI), and body composition were obtained using tape-based measurements and dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA). RESULTS: Absolute LEc (ABSLEc, kcal·km) was positively correlated with 21 (out of 27) absolute anthropometric variables in both male and female cohorts. Multiple regression analysis revealed that one variable (mean perimeter z-score) explained 49.4% (M) and 68.9% (F) of the variance in ABSLEc. Relative LEc (RELLEc, kcal·kg·km) was also correlated with 5 (M) and 7 (F) normalised anthropometric variables, and regression analysis explained 31.6% (M; percentage bone mass and normalised hip perimeter) and 33.3% (F, normalised forearm perimeter) of the variance in RELLEc. CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide novel and robust evidence that anthropometry and body composition variables, predominantly indicative of relative slenderness, explain a considerable proportion of the variance in running economy (i.e., more slender, lower energy cost). We therefore recommend that runners and coaches are attentive to relative slenderness in selecting and training athletes with the aim of enhancing running economy, and improving distance running performance.

Funding

MAS Holdings, Sri Lanka

History

School

  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise

Volume

52

Issue

3

Pages

762-770

Publisher

Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Rights holder

© American College of Sports Medicine

Publisher statement

This is a non-final version of an article published in final form in Black, M.I. ... et al, 2019. The anthropometry of economical running. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 52(3), pp. 762-770. The definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0000000000002158.

Acceptance date

06/09/2019

Publication date

2019-09-12

Copyright date

2019

ISSN

0195-9131

eISSN

1530-0315

Language

en

Depositor

Prof Jonathan Folland

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