Training for endurance in sport and fitness
Training for endurance in sport and fitness

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

3.3 Exercise economy

Being more economical during endurance exercise should lead to a reduction in the amount of energy used for a given power output, and therefore postpone the onset of fatigue. In running, for example, if two athletes have the same VO2 max but one has a better running economy, that athlete would use less energy when running at the same speed and should therefore be able to run for longer, or faster, for the same power output. In Activity 3 you’ll investigate running economy further and how you can improve it.

Activity 3

Timing: Allow 15 minutes for this activity

Watch Video 1, which explains the factors that determine running economy and how these may be improved. While you watch Video 1, note down the factors that you as an athlete or coach may be able to influence – for example, if working with a marathon runner, how could you improve their running economy?

Download this video clip.Video player: Video 1
Copy this transcript to the clipboard
Print this transcript
Show transcript|Hide transcript
Video 1 Improve your running economy
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Discussion

Running economy is determined by multiple predetermined factors. However, there are some factors that can be trained for. A marathon runner may improve their running economy by reducing body fat (if they need to), wearing lighter shoes with good cushioning, and improve their biomechanics (in terms of freely chosen stride length, minimal movement at the arms, more acute knee angle, and low bouncing when running). Additionally, by including resistance and plyometric training in their training programme they can enhance their running economy by improving the function of her neuromuscular system.

For longer-duration events where fatigue plays a relatively larger role, lactate threshold and running economy become relatively more important. However, in shorter-duration endurance events (such as a 5 km run), where fatigue plays a smaller role, the VO2 max and anaerobic capacity of athletes should correlate more accurately with performance.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371