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Study to reveal the secret of how to become the ‘ideal’ endurance runner

Researchers at Loughborough University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences are exploring the science behind the ‘ideal’ running technique for endurance competitors as part of a new study.

Whilst there is quite a lot of, sometimes diverse, coaching opinion on the best way to run, detailed scientific information on the correct or ideal biomechanics of running is not known. Assessment of running kinematics will therefore aim to provide optimum anatomical locations for things such as joint angles and pelvic tilt.

The study, which is comparing the technique of elite runners to that of recreational runners to determine the biomechanical differences, involves placing markers all over the body to track the motion of all of the body segments and joints in three dimensions during each step.

The efficiency of each runner will also be assessed by measuring their energy expenditure during running, and a panel of elite coaches will also rate the technique of each individual. So far 73 runners have been recruited against a target of 100, with the demographic including elite and recreational males and females.

Dr Jonathan Folland, Reader in Human Performance and Neuromuscular Physiology at Loughborough University said of the research:

“This is a really important study within distance running, as knowing the best way to run seems like a fundamental question for all runners.”

“The ultimate goal is that wearable technology will be able to provide virtual coaching for each runner, by assessing the technical weaknesses of each runner and providing feedback and advice to help them improve their technique, and therefore their running performance.”