Why running higher mileage can mean better energy efficiency

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If you're looking to improve your energy efficiency - being able to run for longer using less energy - it may be time to ramp up your mileage. A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology has found that runners who had a higher weekly mileage showed a more efficient running technique than those with a lower one.

Analysing two groups of volunteers who’d been running for a minimum of six months (one group ran fewer than nine miles per week, while the other ran more than 27), the university researchers monitored their thigh muscles and knee joint movements to determine force and speed, and whether the weekly mileage each runner racked up made a difference to these elements. The volunteers ran trials at four different speeds between 5 and 12 mph.

It was found that the high-mileage runners formed a greater prominent pattern of neuromuscular changes that improve their running efficiency in comparison to those who ran shorter distances. Still struggling to digest how? The researchers explained“from our findings, we concluded that high-mileage training leads to changes in the muscles and tendons that likely reduce energy expenditure during running, and these adaptations are enhanced the faster you go." 

Of course, we're not recommending that you suddenly triple your weekly mileage - that would be a recipe for injury-related disaster - but it may be worth gradually building it up along with additional strength work to reap the running rewards.