Appointments that Technogym will not miss, and this year Francesco Cuzzolin and Silvano Zanuso, respectively Director of the Research and Innovation Department and Scientific research & communication Manager at Technogym, spoke about running.
Introducing first the most important aspects of the biomechanics and physiology of running, then the concept of power of running and how to monitor, train and test it with SKILLRUN, the new treadmill introduced by Technogym.
How humans move
They can be represented using two basic models: the inverted pendulum for walking and the bouncing pogo stick or the spring for running.
To move the body segments, muscles must contract in a proper sequence at each step and the work is done by the interplay between potential and kinetic energies in Walking, whilst in Running we have a third player represented by elastic energies.
To increase efficiency and reduce shock to the lower extremity the foot should be landing under the body’s centre of gravity or close to it.
To be efficient we should land with the foot aligned with the centre of mass and not in front of it to avoid breaking. In this way we can help to avoid any breaking and that of accumulating elastic energy thanks to the spring mechanism of the tendons.
Thus, in a sport like football we need to face two different tasks: being economical and saving energy when running at a low speed (the so called transition running in football) and being able to produce the highest amount of force in a very short time – power – when sprinting.
The basic parameters to analyze the fundamental locomotion pattern in sports are: cadence, step and stride length, vertical oscillation and ground contact time. They can be analyzed and visualized when doing specific sessions in a lab, but we can use a simple parameter that properly summarize that fundamental parameter and helps to ‘quantify’ energy production when running.
Watt is the standard unit of power, it is equivalent to one joule per second and it is directly influenced by:
- speed - the higher the speed the higher the watt;
- cadence - at a given speed the higher the cadence and the lower the watts;
- ground contact time - at a given speed watt decreases with decreased contact time.
How to improve your running with the SKILLRUN treadmill
How cadence and contact time influence running economy
Contact time. Several authors have shown an inverse relationship between running economy and ground contact time (Williams and Cavanagh, 1987; Chapman et al., 2012;Di Michelle and Merni, 2014). Muscles in fact sustain an elevated energy consumption which is inversely proportional to the contact time (Kramer and Taylor, 1990).