Originally Posted by Patrick Donnelly
Garrett, I have no doubt in my mind that a forefoot strike is the best way to run. I simply wonder what the reasoning was behind defining "running economy" as oxygen consumption. I can see that burning more oxygen means you're burning more calories, but if you're also using more muscles, then that could help slow the occurrence of fatigue/cramps in specific muscle groups. That would permit you to run for a longer time, therefore making it more effective, at least in one sense, even if more calories are burned.
I wonder how much of the increased oxygen consumption came from the calves alone. In heel-toe, the calves don't play any substantial role, since the impact is all absorbed by the minimal elasticity of the cartilage in your joints (a bad idea, but that's what happens). With a forefoot strike, all of that force absorption is immediately assumed by the calves. Muscles absorbing force takes energy (and therefore oxygen); joints absorbing force just causes pain. Is 0.25 L/min a huge difference? Just thinking.
The original article I cited did mention that the stress in POSE that you normally find on the knees was transferred to the ankles, so POSE does not necessarily introduce the relative absence of joint stress, only shifts it. Or so the original source claims.
Edit to add citation:
Originally Posted by http://www.sportsscientists.com/2007/10/pose-running-reduces-running-economythe.html
Trying to make radical, wholesale changes to running technique is probably not the optimal way to go, for it simply transfers the point of loading on the skeleton to another area. Specifically, the research study discussed in Part III of the series (a study we were both involved in at UCT) found that 2 weeks of training caused the loading on the knee to be reduced, but the loading on the ankle increased.
It's not entirely clear from that description, but the increased loading may only be mainly due to inexperience with the movement.