ATHLETE x SCIENCE
ATHLETE x SCIENCE
Running economy is not an innate ability but must be developed through coordination skills and then refined by more advanced training. Over time, a functional coordination pattern replaces the generalized one, the number of muscles activated decreases to only the necessities, and energy cost reduces. Beginner endurance athletes initially have a steep adaptation curve as they acquire general fitness just by putting in miles, often regardless of how those miles are structured. When a non-athlete first begins a training program, significant neuromuscular adaptations occur to create basic coordination which lays the foundation for biomechanical efficiency (running economy).
Running economy is defined as “the steady-state oxygen consumption at a given running velocity.” (Bonnacci, et al. 2009). In other words, better running economy equates to a more efficient use and recycling of oxygen during a workout. There is a direct correlation between running economy and performance; improving economy through training has a positive effect on performance. To develop the most efficient mechanics possible, we must create optimal muscle recruitment patterns. This conserves the greatest amount of energy used per stride. Well-trained, advanced runners have extremely refined muscle recruitment patterns compared to novice athletes. Positive adaptations to training are a function of a learned response where the body acquires specific movement patterns linked with ideal task completion.
As a runner masters the skill in practice through repetition, they experience an observable decrease in muscle activation, recruitment of synergists, and variation in movement. In other words, even the most complex skill will form the simplest, most efficient muscle activation pattern.
To learn about training adaptation in the realm of triathlon, read more at https://simplifaster.com/articles/adaptations-to-training-for-runners-and-triathletes/