Men's and women's world championship marathon performances and changes with fatigue are not explained by kinematic differences between footstrike patterns

Hanley, Brian, Bissas, Athanassios ORCID: 0000-0002-7858-9623 and Merlino, Stéphane (2020) Men's and women's world championship marathon performances and changes with fatigue are not explained by kinematic differences between footstrike patterns. Frontiers in Sports and Active Living, 2. p. 102. doi:10.3389/fspor.2020.00102

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Abstract

World-class marathon runners make initial contact with the rearfoot, midfoot or forefoot. This novel study analyzed kinematic similarities and differences between rearfoot and non-rearfoot strikers within the men's and women's 2017 IAAF World Championship marathons across the last two laps. Twenty-eight men and 28 women, equally divided by footstrike pattern, were recorded at 29.5 and 40 km (laps 3 and 4, respectively) using two high-definition cameras (50 Hz). The videos were digitized to derive spatiotemporal and joint kinematic data, with additional footage (120 Hz) used to identify footstrike patterns. There was no difference in running speed, step length or cadence between rearfoot and non-rearfoot strikers during either lap in both races, and these three key variables decreased in athletes of either footstrike pattern to a similar extent between laps. Men slowed more than women between laps, and overall had greater reductions in step length and cadence. Rearfoot strikers landed with their foot farther in front of the center of mass (by 0.02–0.04 m), with non-rearfoot strikers relying more on flight distance for overall step length. Male rearfoot strikers had more extended knees, dorsiflexed ankles and hyperextended shoulders at initial contact than non-rearfoot strikers, whereas female rearfoot strikers had more flexed hips and extended knees at initial contact. Very few differences were found at midstance and toe-off. Rearfoot and non-rearfoot striking techniques were therefore mostly indistinguishable except at initial contact, and any differences that did occur were very small. The spatiotemporal variables that differed between footstrike patterns were not associated with faster running speeds and, ultimately, neither footstrike pattern prevented reductions in running speeds. The only joint angle measured at a specific gait event to change with fatigue was midswing knee flexion angle in men. Coaches should thus note that encouraging marathon runners to convert from rearfoot to non-rearfoot striking is unlikely to provide any performance benefits, and that training the fatigue resistance of key lower limb muscle-tendon units to avoid decreases in step length and cadence are more useful in preventing reductions in speed during the later stages of the race.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Athletics; Endurance; Performance; Running; Videography
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV557 Sports > GV0712 Athletic contests. Sports events
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV557 Sports
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports Medicine
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Sport and Exercise > Applied Sport & Exercise Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Sport, Exercise, Health & Wellbeing
Depositing User: Rhiannon Goodland
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2020 09:14
Last Modified: 21 Aug 2020 09:15
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/8661

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