Effect on Oxygen Cost of Transport from 8-Weeks of Progressive Training with Barefoot Running
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Popular interest in barefoot running has emerged as a result of its alleged performance and injury prevention benefits. Oxygen cost of transport (COT) improvements from barefoot running, however, remains equivocal. The aim of this study was to determine the influence of an 8-week progressive barefoot training program on COT and associated spatiotemporal variables. 15 male runners participated in this study. Variables such as oxygen uptake, biomechanical and spatiotemporal characteristics of gait, including ground contact (GC) and swing time; stride length and frequency and ankle plantar-dorsiflexion were measured pre- and post-intervention. The COT did not differ between barefoot and shod running either pre- or post-training. Improved barefoot COT (p<0.05) but not shod was found between pre- and post-training. Biomechanical differences between barefoot and shod conditions persisted over the training period. A decrease in barefoot COT was associated with a decrease in GC time (p=0.003, r=0.688) and a small increase in stride frequency (p=0.030; r=0.569). Ground contact time and stride frequency, previously associated with COT, only partly contribute (32% - Stride frequency and 47% - GC time) to a decrease in COT after barefoot training. Thus other physiological and biomechanical variables must influence the improvement in COT after a barefoot training intervention.
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