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Durham University

Research & business

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Publication details for Dr Karen Hind

O'Sullivan, Ian, Johnson, Mark, Hind, Karen, Breen, Sarah & Francis, Peter (2019). Are changes in running economy associated with changes in performance in runners? A systematic review. Journal of Sport Sciences

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Improvements in running economy (RE) are thought to lead to improvements in running performance (P). Multiple interventions have been designed with the aim of improving RE in middle and long-distance runners. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of interventions of at least 2-weeks’ duration on RE and P and to determine whether there is a relationship between changes in RE (ΔRE) and changes in running performance (ΔP). A database search was carried out in Web of Science, Scopus and SPORTDiscus. In accordance with a PRISMA checklist 10 studies reporting 12 comparisons between interventions and controls were included in the review. There was no correlation between percentage ΔRE and percentage ΔP (r = 0.46, P = 0.936, 12 comparisons). There was a low risk of reporting bias but an unclear risk of bias for other items. Meta-analyses found no statistically significant differences between interventions and controls for RE (SMD (95% CI) = −0.37 (−1.43, 0.69), 204 participants, p = 0.49) or for P (SMD (95% CI) = −0.65 (−26.02, 24.72, 204 participants, p = 0.99). There is a need for studies of greater statistical power, methodological quality, duration and homogeneity of intervention and population. Standardised measures of performance and greater control over non-intervention training are also required.