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The first thing to notice is that for each speed the rising slope of the overall force curve—the loading rate—is pretty much the same in all conditions. But the lower leg component J1 does change: the more cushioning they have, the steeper and higher that peak is. In this study, the runners adjusted the angle of their foot strike to control how long that J1 impact took.
When barefoot, they landed on their forefoot, which prolongs and softens the landing, with the calf muscles and Achilles acting as a shock absorber. In the thick-soled trainer, the presence of cushioning allowed them to slam down directly on their heel, which led to a sharper J1 curve without changing the overall loading rate. But by delaying that peak, it ends up occurring at a point where the other, slower component of force from the rest of the body is much bigger.
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In other words, you reduce one of the forces but increase the other, and end up with a similar total force. Either your shoe cushioning softens the impact, or you adjust your landing to get cushioning from your calf and Achilles. Take your pick, because the end result—at least under these particular conditions—is the same.
Weyand is justifiably hesitant to generalize, though.
Mobile Technology in Running Science and Medicine: Are We Ready?
This is a small study of a few volunteers running under very specific conditions at fast speeds. Crucially, the simplicity of the two-mass model means that you no longer need a prohibitively expensive force-measuring treadmill to assess impact forces and loading rates. Instead, all you need to know is how fast your lower leg is moving when it hits the ground; how long your foot stays on the ground; and how long each step takes.
You can get those parameters with a high-speed video camera, or these days you could do it with a small leg-mounted accelerometer. Please sign in to write a review. If you have changed your email address then contact us and we will update your details.
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Running can encompass the absolute extremes of human performance, from speed to endurance. Running Science uncovers the fundamental science that underpins this ubiquitous sport, bringing together the study of biomechanics, nutrition, psychology, health and injury prevention, and the technical development of shoes and running surfaces: it's a complete reference. Added to basket. Mark Adams.
Science of Running - science made simple
Jennifer Stafford-Brown. The Sports Gene. David Epstein.