Expensive trainers really DO make you a better runner!
Expensive sneakers DO make you a better runner! Top-of-the range sports shoes ‘improve oxygen economy for novice runners’
- Novices wearing better shoes were found to be four per cent more economical
- The benefit was far less for veteran fitness fanatics and helped them less
- Scientists say the energy conservation appears to be down to the carbon fibre plate in the sole of the shoe saving energy for the wearer
Splashing the cash on expensive equipment really can make a difference to amateurs starting to exercise.
Novices that have more sophisticated equipment were found to be four per cent more economical than those with more basic equipment, a study finds.
The benefit, however, is far less noticeable for veteran fitness fanatics.
Scientists say the energy conservation is down to the carbon fibre plate in the sole of the shoe saving energy for the wearer when using their ankle joint, allowing them to better save energy and put it towards running faster.
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Novices that had more sophisticated equipment were found to be four per cent more economical than those with more basic equipment, a study finds. Energy conservation appears to be down to the carbon fibre plate in the sole of the shoe saving energy for the wearer (stock)
Researchers write in the study: ‘The metabolic savings of the shoes appear to be due to: (1) superior energy storage in the midsole foam, (2) the clever lever effects of the carbon-fiber plate on the ankle joint mechanics, and (3) the stiffening effects of the plate on the joint.’
Nike’s Zoom Vaporfly shoe improves running economy by four per cent on average, leading to speculation that it could eventually lead to a marathon being run in less than two hours.
But sadly for aspiring breakers of the two-hour glass ceiling, an improved economy of four per cent does not translate to a corresponding increase in race times.
Treadmill tests at the University of Colorado Boulder found those who run a mile in more than nine minutes showed far greater improvements than those who can cover the distance in less than nine minutes when using better trainers.
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This translates to a casual runner, who normally completes a marathon in approximately four hours 30 minutes, seeing a 1.17 per cent improvement in the time it takes them to complete the 26 miles.
This results in a boost of three minutes and seven seconds, the scientists found.
A multitude of factors, including increased air resistance, mean the impact at higher speeds is far less.
For an elite athlete completing a marathon in a time of two hours, the percentage improvement drops to a mere 0.67 per cent – an improvement of less than a minute overall.
This translates to a casual runner, who normally completes a marathon in approximately four hours 30 minutes, seeing a 1.17 per cent improvement in the time it takes them to complete the 26 miles. Resulting in a boost of three minutes and seven seconds (stock)
DO EXPENSIVE TRAINERS INCREASE YOUR RISK OF INJURY?
Although many opt for comfy trainers to prevent injuries, the cushioned running shoes may do the exact opposite.
A previous study found a highly-cushioned trainer is more likely to cause shin splints and stress fractures than the less bouncy alternative.
Despite being created to prevent injuries, cushioned trainers change the way people run by altering the natural spring-like mechanism in their legs.
This normally ensures joggers bend their knees and ankles to create a bouncing movement.
Reducing this causes runners to land with a stiffer leg, putting them at risk of injuries, researchers say.
Running has significant benefits for a person’s heart and overall health, however, between 37 and 56 per cent of joggers experience injuries every year worldwide.
These injuries are thought to largely occur due to the vertical force that is created when a runner’s foot hits the ground.
To reduce this, many trainer manufacturers have added cushioning to their shoes’ soles, however, there is no evidence that this actually prevents injuries.
Despite being created to prevent injuries, cushioned trainers change the way people run by altering the natural spring-like mechanism in their legs. This normally ensures joggers bend their knees and ankles to create a bouncing movement
Researchers say this lack of a linear relationship between equipment quality and running economy is a surprise.
Study co-author Wouter Hoogkamer, from the University of Colorado Boulder, explained: ‘For a long time, most people assumed there was a directly proportional linear relationship: That if you improved running economy by X percent you could run X percent faster.’
Researchers tested current day runners on a treadmill with and without aids, such as better footwear, after drinking beet juice or being helped by a tailwind.
They also studied running times data going back decades including how much better athletes were using aids or tactics such as ‘drafting’ – running in the slipstream of an athlete in front to lower air resistance.
Shalaya Kipp, a co-author on the study, added: ‘Recreational runners assume these (aids) are just going to benefit elite athletes when the reality is they can benefit even more than the elites.’
The research was published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology.
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