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Running Economy

The Forgotten Factor in Elite Performance


Running performance depends on maximal oxygen uptake (V̇O2max), the ability to sustain a high percentage of V̇O2max for an extended period of time and running economy. Running economy has been studied relatively less than the other factors. Running economy, measured as steady state oxygen uptake V̇O2) at intensities below the ventilatory threshold is the standard method. Extrapolation to a common running speed (268 m/min) or as the V̇O2 required to run a kilometer is the standard method of assessment. Individuals of East African origin may be systematically more economical, although a smaller body size and a thinner lower leg may be the primary factors. Strategies for improving running economy remain to be developed, although it appears that high intensity running may be a common element acting to improve economy.

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The authors have indicated that they have no affiliation or financial interest in any organisation(s) that may have a direct interest in the subject matter of this article.

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Correspondence to Carl Foster.

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Foster, C., Lucia, A. Running Economy. Sports Med 37, 316–319 (2007).

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  • Ventilatory Threshold
  • Marathon Runner
  • High Intensity Training
  • Altitude Training
  • Plyometric Training