Influence of the world's most challenging mountain ultra-marathon on energy cost and running mechanics

Gianluca Vernillo, Aldo Savoldelli, Andrea Zignoli, Pietro Trabucchi, Barbara Pellegrini, Grégoire P. Millet, Federico Schena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To examine the effects of the world's most challenging mountain ultra-marathon (Tor des Géants® 2012) on the energy cost of three types of locomotion (cycling, level and uphill running) and running kinematics. Methods: Before (pre-) and immediately after (post-) the competition, a group of ten male experienced ultra-marathon runners performed in random order three submaximal 4-min exercise trials: cycling at a power of 1.5 W kg-1 body mass; level running at 9 km h-1 and uphill running at 6 km h-1 at an inclination of +15 % on a motorized treadmill. Two video cameras recorded running mechanics at different sampling rates. Results: Between pre- and post-, the uphill-running energy cost decreased by 13.8 % (P = 0.004); no change was noted in the energy cost of level running or cycling (NS). There was an increase in contact time (+10.3 %, P = 0.019) and duty factor (+8.1 %, P = 0.001) and a decrease in swing time (-6.4 %, P = 0.008) in the uphill-running condition. Conclusion: After this extreme mountain ultra-marathon, the subjects modified only their uphill-running patterns for a more economical step mechanics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)929-939
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Cycling
  • Fatigue
  • Kinematics
  • Oxygen cost
  • Running
  • Ultra trail

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Medicine(all)


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