Factors Affecting Running Economy in Trained Distance Runners

  title={Factors Affecting Running Economy in Trained Distance Runners},
  author={Philo Saunders and David B. Pyne and Richard D. Telford and John A. Hawley},
  journal={Sports Medicine},
Running economy (RE) is typically defined as the energy demand for a given velocity of submaximal running, and is determined by measuring the steady-state consumption of oxygen (V̇O2) and the respiratory exchange ratio. Taking body mass (BM) into consideration, runners with good RE use less energy and therefore less oxygen than runners with poor RE at the same velocity. There is a strong association between RE and distance running performance, with RE being a better predictor of performance… 

Physiological factors affecting performance in elite distance runners

Researchers should exercise caution when giving training recommendations to coaches and elite distance runners based on limited available research, as much of the current understanding regarding the response to exercise is based on studies of untrained and moderately trained individuals.

Running economy: measurement, norms, and determining factors

It is evident that RE is a complex, multifactorial concept that reflects the integrated composite of a variety of metabolic, cardiorespiratory, biomechanical and neuromuscular characteristics that are unique to the individual.

Strategies to Improve Running Economy

It is clear that a range of training and passive interventions may improve RE, and researchers should concentrate their investigative efforts on more fully understanding the types and mechanisms that affect RE and the practicality and extent to which RE can be improved outside the laboratory.

Energy Cost of Running Related to Running Intensity and Peak Oxygen Uptake

There is evidence that elite runners have better running economy than good and less capable runners, and that in untrained individuals RE improves if they take on running exercises.

Factors correlated with running economy among elite middle‐ and long‐distance runners

It is concluded that a short LAch is correlated with RE, implying that aShort LAch allows for storage of a larger amount of elastic energy in the tendon and influences the force–velocity relation toward a lower contraction velocity.

Running Economy

It appears that high intensity running may be a common element acting to improve economy, although a smaller body size and a thinner lower leg may be the primary factors.

The valid measurement of running economy in runners.

Although EC increased with running speed, OC was insensitive to changes in running speed and, therefore, does not appear to provide a valid index of the underlying EC of running, and EC should be used as the primary measure of running economy.

Is There an Optimal Speed for Economical Running?

It is demonstrated that there is an optimal speed for economical running, there is no sex-specific difference, and high-level endurance runners exhibit better running economy than recreational endurance runners.

Better economy in field running than on the treadmill: evidence from high-level distance runners

The present findings indicate that high-level distance runners have significantly better RE but not V.O2max on the track compared to treadmill, and this difference may be due to biomechanical adjustments.



Factors Affecting Running Economy

The ability of economy, either singly or in combination with V̇O2 max, to account for a substantial portion of performance variation among trained distance runners and untrained subjects of comparable ability and fitness level has been demonstrated in recent cross-sectional studies.

Anaerobic contribution to distance running performance of trained cross-country athletes.

The purpose of this study was to examine the additional role, if any, played by anaerobic factors in distance running performance and revealed that AWC contributes significantly to a 3 variable model predicting race performance.

Running economy and distance running performance of highly trained athletes.

It was concluded that among highly trained and experienced runners of comparable ability and similar Vo2max, running economy accounts for a large and significant amount of the variation observed in performance on a 10 km race.


  • M. Pollock
  • Education
    Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
  • 1977
The purpose of this investigation was to study the submaximal and maximal metabolic characteristics of a large sample of elite runners to observe if specific differentiation into the types of runner could be made.

Energetics of best performances in middle-distance running.

Theoretical record times were calculated for each distance and subject and compared with actual seasonal best performances and the time values that solve the equality Er max(te) = Er(t), assumed to yield the theoretical best t, were obtained by an iterative procedure.

Changes in Running Economy and Mechanics During a Submaximal 5‐km Run

This study explored the effects of a submaximal 5-km run on the running economy (RE) and running mechanics (RM) of 14 female distance runners. Each subject was videotaped while running on a treadmill

Daily stability in energy cost of running, respiratory parameters and stride rate among well-trained middle distance runners.

It is suggested that in well-trained runners C, VE, RF, HR and SR are stable measures for assessing the efficacy of procedures aimed at improving the energy cost of running.

Oxygen cost of running in trained and untrained men and women.

It was concluded that there were differences in the oxygen cost of running not only between the trained and untrained groups but also between males and females.

Body-mass-modified running economy and step length in elite male middle- and long-distance runners.

To minimize the influence of body mass on oxygen uptake (VO2) during running, submaximal and maximal VO2 should preferentially be expressed as ml.kg-0.75.min-1, whereas the figures for running economy at 15 and 18 km were poorly related to the concomitantly determined step lengths at the respective velocities.

Improved running economy following intensified training correlates with reduced ventilatory demands.

Recreational runners can improve RE and aerobic run performance by exchanging parts of their conventional aerobic distance training with intensive distance or long-interval running, whereas short-intervals running is less efficient.