Running economy consists of many physiological and biomechanical factors that contribute to running performance, and is measured to quantify energy utilization while running at an aerobic intensity.:33:465 Oxygen consumption (VO2) is the most direct method for measuring running economy, as the exchange of gases in the body, specifically oxygen and carbon dioxide, closely reflects energy metabolism. Those who are able to consume less oxygen while running at a given velocity are said to have a better running economy.
In distance running, an athlete may attempt to improve performance through training designed to improve running economy. Running economy has been found to be a good predictor of race performance; it has been found to be a stronger correlate of performance than maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max) in trained runners with the same values (Saunders, 2004). The literature relating to RE is vast and the determinants of RE supported by empirical data.
Factors affecting running economy
In The Lore of Running, Tim Noakes, a professor of exercise and sports science at the University of Cape Town, and also recreational runner, describes a number of variables that may affect running economy: vertical motion while running, the ability of the muscles to absorb energy during the shock of landing and transfer it to push-off, biomechanical factors, technique and type of activity, fitness and training, age, fatigue, gender, race, weight of clothing and shoes, and environmental conditions.
Various studies have shown marathon runners to be more economical than middle distance runners and sprinters at speeds of 6–12 miles per hour (10-19 kilometers per hour). At those speeds, film analysis has shown that sprinters and middle distance have more vertical motion than marathoners.
- Daniels, Jack (31 Dec 2013). "Aerobic and training profiles". In Hanlon, Tom; Marty, Claire; Wolpert, Tyler. Daniels' Running Formula (3 ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. pp. 33–38. ISBN 978-1450431835. "The measure of energy expended while running aerobically at some submax speeds is a measure of running economy."
- Saunders, Philo; Pyne, David; Telford, Richard; Hawley, John (2004). "Factor affecting running economy in trained distance runners" (PDF). Sports Medicine 34 (7): 465–485. PMID 15233599. Retrieved 2014-08-18. "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 (VO2) and the respiratory exchange ratio."
- Crowther, Greg (2001). "Tips on maximizing your running economy". Greg Crowther professional website. Retrieved 2014-08-20. "Measuring someone's running economy is equivalent to asking the question, "How far can this person run using a given amount of energy?" Energy use is usually reported in terms of oxygen consumption; the farther the person can run per unit of oxygen consumed -- or, stated another way, the less oxygen he/she consumes in running a given distance -- the more economical he/she is."
- Noakes, Tim. 2003. The Lore of Running. (4th edition) Oxford University Press ISBN 0-87322-959-2
- Kenney, W. Larry; Wilmore, Jack H.; Costill, David L. (May 2011) . "Energy Expenditure and Fatigue". Physiology of Sport and Exercise (5th ed.). Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics. p. 111. ISBN 978-0-7360-9409-2. Retrieved May 12, 2012.