This study aimed to examine the effect of running velocity on spatiotemporal parameters and lower-body stiffness of endurance runners, and the influence of the performance level on those adaptations. Twenty-two male runners (novice [NR], n = 12, and elite runners [ER], n = 10) performed an incremental running test with a total of 5 different running velocities (10, 12, 14, 16, 18 km/h). Each condition lasted 1 min (30 s acclimatization period, and 30 s recording period). Spatiotemporal parameters were measured using the OptoGait system. Vertical (Kvert) and leg (Kleg) stiffness were calculated according to the sine-wave method. A repeated measures ANOVA (2 x 5, group x velocities) revealed significant adaptations (p < 0.05) to increased velocity in all spatiotemporal parameters and Kvert in both NR and ER. ER showed a greater flight time (FT) and step angle (at 18 km/h) (p < 0.05), longer step length (SL) and lower step frequency (SF) (p < 0.05), whereas no between-group differences were found in contact time (CT) nor in the sub-phases during CT at any speed (p ≥ 0.05). ER also showed lower Kvert values at every running velocity (p < 0.05), and no differences in Kleg (p ≥ 0.05). In conclusion, lower SF and Kvert and, thereby, longer FT and SL, seem to be the main spatiotemporal characteristics of high-level runners compared to their low-level counterparts.
This study aimed to analyse the effects of running velocity on spatiotemporal parameters and step variability in amateur endurance runners, according to sex. A group of 51 males and 46 females performed an incremental running test on a treadmill (10-16 km/h). Spatiotemporal parameters (contact and flight time, step length, step frequency and step angle [CT, FT, SL, SF, SA]) and step variability, in terms of within-participant standard deviation (SD), were recorded through the OptoGait System. The ANOVA showed significant differences in the magnitude of the spatiotemporal parameters as running velocity increased (p < 0.001). It also revealed significant differences in step variability (p < 0.005) over the entire running protocol. Between-sex differences in CT, SL, SL-normalized and SF (p < 0.05, ES = 0.4-0.8) were found. Differences were also found in step variability at high velocities (15-16 km/h), with males showing a greater SD than females. In conclusion, increasing running velocity makes CT shorter, FT and SL longer, and SF and SA greater in amateur endurance runners, changing step variability, regardless of sex. Additionally, some between-sex differences were found in spatiotemporal parameters and step variability.