Stride angle as a novel indicator of running economy in well-trained runners

Jordan Santos-Concejero, Nicholas Tam, Cristina Granados, Jon Irazusta, Iraia Bidaurrazaga-Letona, Jon Zabala-Lili, Susana M Gil
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2014, 28 (7): 1889-95
The main purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between a novel biomechanical variable, the stride angle, and running economy (RE) in a homogeneous group of long-distance athletes. Twenty-five well-trained male runners completed 4-minute running stages on a treadmill at different set velocities. During the test, biomechanical variables such as stride angle, swing time, ground contact time, stride length, stride frequency, and the different sub-phases of ground contact were recorded using an optical measurement system. VO2 values at velocities below the lactate threshold were measured to calculate RE. Stride angle was negatively correlated with RE at every speed (p < 0.001, large effect sizes). Running economy was also negatively correlated with swing phase and positively correlated with ground contact time and running performance according to the best 10-km race time (p ≤ 0.05, moderate and large effect sizes). Last, stride angle was correlated with ground contact time at every speed (p < 0.001, large effect sizes). In conclusion, it seems that optimal execution of stride angle allows runners to minimize contact time during ground contact, whereby facilitating a better RE. Coaches and/or athletes may find stride angle a useful and easily obtainable measure to track and make alterations to running technique, because changes in stride angle may influence the energy cost of running and lead to improved performance.

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