n International SportMed Journal - The effects of training, muscle damage and fatigue on running economy : review article

Volume 11, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1528-3356



Running economy is defined as the energy cost of running at a submaximal velocity, and may be determined by measuring steady-state oxygen consumption during submaximal running. Running economy is an important marker of endurance running performance. In a homogeneous group of runners, running economy is strongly related to distance running performance, with better runners having lower oxygen consumption at submaximal running speeds. Training-induced adaptations associated with endurance training, including improved cardiorespiratory function, skeletal muscle oxidative capacity, and running biomechanics, and the optimisation of motor unit recruitment patterns may all be related to improvements in running economy. However, there is equivocal evidence regarding the effects of exercise-induced muscle damage and fatigue on running economy. Reductions in running economy have been reported after downhill runs, short duration runs, and marathon runs. In contrast, other studies have reported no change in running economy after running or various eccentric exercise protocols. The complex relationship between endurance training, exercise-induced muscle damage and fatigue associated with distance running, and running economy is not well understood. In addition, the cumulative effects of prolonged periods of vigorous training and frequent competitive distance racing on running economy are not well understood. Further studies are required to determine both acute and long-term effects of exercise-induced muscle damage and fatigue on the time course of recovery of running economy in athletes subjected to regular and intense training and competition.

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