What is running economy: How to improve running economy

why is running economy important

You will learn what running economy is, why you need to improve your running economy and how to do it. The economy of competitive running is one of the main factors influencing sports achievements in endurance sports.

At the same speed, runners with better running economy use less oxygen than runners with poorer running economy. Running economy can vary between runners with the same VO2max by about 30%

What is running economy (RE)

Running economy (RE) is a combination of various factors within your body, including metabolic rate, cardiorespiratory, biomechanical, and neuromuscular characteristics.

This is the degree of efficiency of oxygen consumption during running. It is measured as the amount of oxygen per kilogram of the runner’s weight per kilometer of distance (mL/kg/km).

For proper preparation and distribution of forces in a long-distance race, you can use our calculator to create a full-distance running pace strategy with a flat pace or a negative split.

A runner with a poor running economy will use more oxygen while running, so they will not be able to maintain a high pace for long or as fast as a runner with a good running economy.

how to improve running economy

Why improve running economy

Improved running economy is associated with improved competitive performance and is a key success factor for elite athletes. Coaches and athletes should be informed whether the running economy improves in response to specific training sessions.

So the lower your running economy, the more effort you put into your run. Therefore, it is important to improve running economy.

How to improve running economy

There are some people who are born with a very good running economy, and others who have to train hard to improve their running economy, so genetics play a big role in your running economy.

  1. Increase in running mileage. For distance runners, increasing mileage is the most effective way to improve the running economy.
  2. Long interval sessions (cruise intervals) are a type of speed training in which you train with a high load and short rest between work intervals.
  3. Uphill sprints. Sprinting uphill strengthens your leg muscles, giving you more power and an explosive stride that will make you a faster, stronger runner.
  4. Strength training.
  5. Perform plyometrics
  6. Lose non-functional weight. Less body weight will consume less energy while running. You must understand that weight loss will be positive for your running economy if you reduce body fat. Lean muscle mass does not affect the relative running economy.

You must understand that running economy is influenced by many factors, from running technique to the types of training load that will favorably affect your running efficiency.

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