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  • Author: Abigail S.L. Stickford x
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Abigail S.L. Stickford, Daniel P. Wilhite and Robert F. Chapman

Investigations into ventilatory, metabolic, and hematological changes with altitude training have been completed; however, there is a lack of research exploring potential gait-kinematic changes after altitude training, despite a common complaint of athletes being a lack of leg "turnover" on return from altitude training.

Purpose:

To determine if select kinematic variables changed in a group of elite distance runners after 4 wk of altitude training.

Methods:

Six elite male distance runners completed a 28-d altitude-training intervention in Flagstaff, AZ (2150 m), following a modified “live high–train low” model, wherein higherintensity runs were performed at lower altitudes (945–1150 m) and low-intensity sessions were completed at higher altitudes (1950–2850 m). Gait parameters were measured 2–9 d before departure to altitude and 1 to 2 d after returning to sea level at running speeds of 300–360 m/min.

Results:

No differences were found in ground-contact time, swing time, or stride length or frequency after altitude training (P > .05).

Conclusions:

Running mechanics are not affected by chronic altitude training in elite distance runners. The data suggest that either chronic training at altitude truly has no effect on running mechanics or completing the live high–train low model of altitude training, where higher-velocity workouts are completed at lower elevations, mitigates any negative mechanical adaptations that may be associated with chronic training at slower speeds.

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Abigail S.L. Stickford, Robert F. Chapman, Jeanne D. Johnston and Joel M. Stager

The efficacy of and mechanisms behind the widespread use of lower-leg compression as an ergogenic aid to improve running performance are unknown. The purpose of this study was to examine whether wearing graduated lower-leg compression sleeves during exercise evokes changes in running economy (RE), perhaps due to altered gait mechanics. Sixteen highly trained male distance runners completed 2 separate RE tests during a single laboratory session, including a randomized-treatment trial of graduated calf-compression sleeves (CS; 15–20 mm Hg) and a control trial (CON) without compression sleeves. RE was determined by measuring oxygen consumption at 3 constant submaximal speeds of 233, 268, and 300 m/min on a treadmill. Running mechanics were measured during the last 30 s of each 4-min stage of the RE test via wireless triaxial 10-g accelerometer devices attached to the top of each shoe. Ground-contact time, swing time, step frequency, and step length were determined from accelerometric output corresponding to foot-strike and toe-off events. Gait variability was calculated as the standard deviation of a given gait variable for an individual during the last 30 s of each stage. There were no differences in VO2 or kinematic variables between CON and CS trials at any of the speeds. Wearing lower-leg compression does not alter the energetics of running at submaximal speeds through changes in running mechanics or other means. However, it appears that the individual response to wearing lower-leg compression varies greatly and warrants further examination.