Running power as measured by foot-worn sensors is considered to be associated with the metabolic cost of running. In this study, we show that running economy needs to be taken into account when deriving metabolic cost from accelerometer data. We administered an experiment in which 32 experienced participants (age = 28 ± 7 years, weekly running distance = 51 ± 24 km) ran at a constant speed with modified spatiotemporal gait characteristics (stride length, ground contact time, use of arms). We recorded both their metabolic costs of transportation, as well as running power, as measured by a Stryd sensor. Purposely varying the running style impacts the running economy and leads to significant differences in the metabolic cost of running (p
< 0.01). At the same time, the expected rise in running power does not follow this change, and there is a significant difference in the relation between metabolic cost and power (p
< 0.001). These results stand in contrast to the previously reported link between metabolic and mechanical running characteristics estimated by foot-worn sensors. This casts doubt on the feasibility of measuring running power in the field, as well as using it as a training signal.
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