International Journal of Exercise Science
Running economy (RE) is defined as the oxygen consumption (VO2) or caloric unit cost required to move at a specific velocity and is an important performance marker. Ground contact time (GCT) has been associated with RE; however, it has not been established how GCT imbalances between feet impact RE. Purpose: Determine the relationship between cadence, GCT, and GCT imbalances and RE. Methods: 11 NCAA Division I distance runners (7 male) completed a graded exercise test on a treadmill to determine lactate threshold (LT) and VO2max. Body composition was also assessed via DEXA. Subjects ran with a heart rate monitor capable of measuring cadence, GCT, and GCT balance between feet. VO2 and respiratory exchange ratio were recorded over the last minute of the 5-minute stages. RE expressed as caloric unit cost (kcal·kg-1· km-1) was calculated for the stage determined to be just below the LT (prior to > 4mmol/L) and was correlated with cadence, GCT, and GCT imbalance by Pearson correlations. Results: Pearson correlations between RE and the running dynamics measures were as follows: cadence (r = -.444, p = .171), GCT (r = .492, p = .125), GCT Imbalance (r = .808, p < .005). An independent t-test revealed greater (p = .023) leg lean mass imbalances in runners with larger GCT imbalances compared to runners with smaller GCT imbalances. Conclusion: GCT imbalances are strongly related to impaired RE. Future research should determine how to improve GCT imbalances and if doing so improves RE.
Joubert, Dustin P.; Guerra, Nicholas A.; Jones, Eric J.; Knowles, Erica G.; and Piper, Aaron D., "Ground Contact Time Imbalances Strongly Related to Impaired Running Economy" (2020). Faculty Publications. 30.
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