Can Trained Runners Effectively Attenuate Impact Acceleration During Repeated High-Intensity Running Bouts?

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of prolonged high-intensity running on impact accelerations in trained runners. Thirteen male distance runners completed two 20-minute treadmill runs at speeds corresponding to 95% of onset of blood lactate accumulation. Leg and head accelerations were collected for 20 s every fourth minute. Rating of perceived exertion (RPE) scores were recorded during the third and last minute of each run. RPE responses increased (P < .001) from the start (11.8 ± 0.9, moderate intensity) of the first run to the end (17.7 ± 1.5, very hard) of the second run. Runners maintained their leg impact acceleration, impact attenuation, stride length, and stride frequency characteristics with prolonged run duration. However, a small (0.11–0.14g) but significant increase (P < .001) in head impact accelerations were observed at the end of both first and second runs. It was concluded that trained runners are able to control leg impact accelerations during sustained high-intensity running. Alongside the substantial increases in perceived exertion levels, running mechanics and frequency domain impact attenuation levels remained constant. This suggests that the present trained runners are able to cope from a mechanical perspective despite an increased physiological demand.

Adam C. Clansey is with the Department of Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada. Mark J. Lake is with the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK. Eric S. Wallace is with the Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Institute, Ulster University, Northern Ireland. Tom Feehally is with the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK. Michael Hanlon is with the Department of Health, Sport and Exercise Science, Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford, Ireland.

Address author correspondence to Adam C. Clansey at adam.clansey@me.queensu.ca.