The effect of the different training regimes and histories on the spatiotemporal characteristics of human running was evaluated in four groups of subjects who had different histories of engagement in running-specific training; sprinters, distance runners, active athletes, and sedentary individuals. Subjects ran at a variety of velocities, ranging from slowest to fastest, over 30 trials in a random order. Group averages of maximal running velocities, ranked from fastest to slowest, were: sprinters, distance runners, active athletes, and sedentary individuals. The velocity-cadence-step length (V-C-S) relationship, made by plotting step length against cadence at each velocity tested, was analyzed with the segmented regression method, utilizing two regression lines. In all subject groups, there was a critical velocity, defined as the inflection point, in the relationship. In the velocity ranges below and above the inflection point (slower and faster velocity ranges), velocity was modulated primarily by altering step length and by altering cadence, respectively. This pattern was commonly observed in all four groups, not only in sprinters and distance runners, as has already been reported, but also in active athletes and sedentary individuals. This pattern may reflect an energy saving strategy. When the data from all groups were combined, there were significant correlations between maximal running velocity and both running velocity and step length at the inflection point. In spite of the wide variety of athletic experience of the subjects, as well as their maximum running velocities, the inflection point appeared at a similar cadence (3.0 ± 0.2 steps/s) and at a similar relative velocity (65-70%Vmax). These results imply that the influence of running-specific training on the inflection point is minimal.
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