With the recent release of our new Stryd power meter, we are more excited than ever about the possibilities of helping people run faster. Not only does Stryd measure how hard you are running, it also measures how effectively you are running. In our recently released white paper (find it here) we discuss running economy – a measure of the metabolic cost of running – how it impacts performance and how you can use Stryd to help you improve it.
Biomechanical Variables and Running Economy
Our first post in the series looks at the concept of running economy. Running biomechanics have long been considered to play a primary role in determining one’s running economy. It is generally accepted that most trained runners exhibit the stride length and frequency that is close to what is considered “optimal” for economical running. However, it is common to find that small adjustments can make a big difference. For example, even trained runners occasionally run at lower than optimal frequencies and would benefit from increasing their cadence to around 170-174spm.
Other variables such as ground contact time and vertical oscillation can also influence economy. Although reviews on both metrics are somewhat mixed, it is largely believed that athletes who display shorter ground contact times and lower vertical oscillations are more economical than those who don’t.
Researchers have yet to agree on whether or not there is an optimal running gait for all runners. Stryd’s metrics are best used individually to see how changes impact your performance or how specific variables are impacted by fatigue. If you believe that you could benefit from an increase in stride frequency and a decrease in ground contact time, try adding running specific drills, plyometrics, and/or strength training into your training regimen.
On Friday, Part 3 will discuss Stryd’s newest efficiency metrics: Leg Spring Stiffness and Form Power. Parts 4 and 5 of this series will focus on improving running economy through training. If your want to give you training a jump start, be sure to read Run with Power by Jim Vance.