Saw this little gem today on Twitterverse: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/24002340/?i=3&from=rearfoot%20strike
Not sure what to make of it. Basically looked at 20 sub elite runners and compared running economy at 3 different speeds and separated into either rear foot or mid foot strikers. They found the ear foot runners to be more economical. The rear foot had a longer contact time and shorter flight time, which shouldn’t be a surprise.
1) 20 people isn’t very many. Hard to make a statement based on that, but I understand it’s to get big subject numbers for studies.
2) Is running economy that big of a predictor in performance? Why- well, these runners were all classified into sub-elite based on physiological and other parameters. So, performance wise, they are all similar, but economy was different. So, if economy was different, but performances the same, wouldn’t that make running economy not as big of a separator of performance as we have grown to accept.
3) Continuing on #2 above, it’s not to say that running economy isn’t important. What I think is important is our individual running economy. Can we make ourselves use oxygen more efficiently? I think that will be more useful for our own performances, rather than comparing to another runner who is running the same times.
4) Maybe I am looking too far into it, because again, only 20 subjects were studied!