The influence of running speed and sex on running economy is unclear and may have been confounded by measurements of oxygen cost that do not account for known differences in substrate metabolism, across a limited range of speeds, and differences in performance standard. Therefore, this study assessed the energy cost of running over a wide range of speeds in high-level and recreational runners to investigate the effect of speed (in absolute and relative terms) and sex (men vs women of equivalent performance standard) on running economy. To determine the energy cost (kcal · kg−1 · km−1) of submaximal running, speed at lactate turn point (sLTP), and maximal rate of oxygen uptake, 92 healthy runners (high-level men, n = 14; high-level women, n = 10; recreational men, n = 35; recreational women, n = 33) completed a discontinuous incremental treadmill test. There were no sex-specific differences in the energy cost of running for the recreational or high-level runners when compared at absolute or relative running speeds (P > .05). The absolute and relative speed–energy cost relationships for the high-level runners demonstrated a curvilinear U shape with a nadir reflecting the most economical speed at 13 km/h or 70% sLTP. The high-level runners were more economical than the recreational runners at all absolute and relative running speeds (P < .05). These findings demonstrate 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.
Matthew I. Black, Joseph C. Handsaker, Sam J. Allen, Stephanie E. Forrester and Jonathan P. Folland
Stephen J. Bailey, Anni Vanhatalo, Matthew I. Black, Fred J. DiMenna and Andrew M. Jones
To assess whether combining prior “priming” exercise with an all-out pacing strategy is more effective at improving oxygen-uptake (V̇O2) kinetics and cycling performance than either intervention administered independently.
Nine men completed target-work cycling performance trials using a self-paced or all-out pacing strategy with or without prior severe-intensity (70%Δ) priming exercise. Breath-by-breath pulmonary V̇O2 and cycling power output were measured during all trials.
Compared with the self-paced unprimed control trial (22 ± 5 s), the V̇O2 mean response time (MRT) was shorter (V̇O2 kinetics were faster) with all-out pacing (17 ± 4 s) and priming (17 ± 3 s), with the lowest V̇O2 MRT observed when all-out pacing and priming were combined (15 ± 4 s) (P < .05). However, total O2 consumed and end-exercise V̇O2 were only higher than the control condition in the primed trials (P < .05). Similarly, cycling performance was improved compared with control (98 ± 11 s) in the self-paced primed (93 ± 8 s) and all-out primed (92 ± 8 s) trials (P < .05) but not the all-out unprimed trial (97 ± 5 s; P > .05).
These findings suggest that combining an all-out start with severe-intensity priming exercise additively improves V̇O2 MRT but not total O2 consumption and cycling performance since these were improved by a similar magnitude in both primed trials relative to the self-paced unprimed control condition. Therefore, these results support the use of priming exercise as a precompetition intervention to improve oxidative metabolism and performance during short-duration high-intensity cycling exercise, independent of the pacing strategy adopted.
Kirsty Brock, Prokopios Antonellis, Matthew I. Black, Fred J. DiMenna, Anni Vanhatalo, Andrew M. Jones and Stephen J. Bailey
Purpose: To investigate whether oxygen-uptake (