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Emerging evidence suggests that cycling may influence neuromuscular control during subsequent running but the relationship between altered neuromuscular control and run performance in triathletes is not well understood. The aim of this study was to determine if a 45min high-intensity cycle influences lower limb movement and muscle recruitment during running and whether changes in limb movement or muscle recruitment are associated with changes in running economy (RE) after cycling. RE, muscle activity (surface electromyography) and limb movement (sagittal plane kinematics) were compared between a control run (no preceding cycle) and a run performed after a 45min high-intensity cycle in 15 moderately trained triathletes. Muscle recruitment and kinematics during running after cycling were altered in 7 of 15 (46%) triathletes. Changes in kinematics at the knee and ankle were significantly associated with the change in VO(2) after cycling (p<0.05). The change in ankle angle at foot contact alone explained 67.1% of the variance in VO(2). These findings suggest that cycling does influence limb movement and muscle recruitment in some triathletes and that changes in kinematics, especially at the ankle, are closely related to alterations in running economy after cycling
Previous studies have shown that cycling can directly influence neuromuscular control during subsequent running in some highly trained triathletes. A relationship between this altered neuromuscular control of running and musculoskeletal pain and injury has been proposed; however, this link has not been investigated. PURPOSE: This study aimed to evaluate the influence of cycling on neuromuscular control during subsequent running in highly trained triathletes with and without exercise-related leg pain (ERLP). METHODS: Participants were 34 highly trained triathletes: 10 triathletes with a history of ERLP and 24 training-matched control triathletes with no history of ERLP. Knee and ankle kinematics and leg muscle recruitment were compared between a baseline run (no prior exercise) and a transition run (preceded by cycling; i.e., run vs cycle run). RESULTS: Knee and ankle joint kinematics were not different between baseline and transition runs for any triathletes: absolute mean difference (+/-95% confidence interval) was 1.49 degrees +/- 0.17 degrees. However, muscle recruitment was different between baseline and transition runs, defined by absolute mean difference in EMG amplitude > or = 10%, in 5 of 24 control triathletes (11/130 muscles exhibited altered recruitment) and in 5 of 10 triathletes with a history of ERLP (12/50 muscles exhibited altered recruitment). This represents a relative risk of 2.40 (0.89-6.50; P = 0.089) when defined by athletes and 2.62 (1.34-6.01; P < 0.01) when defined by muscles. The magnitude of change in muscle recruitment between baseline and transition runs was not different between control (14.10% +/- 2.34%) and ERLP triathletes (16.31% +/- 3.64%; P = 0.41). CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates an association between ERLP in triathletes and their neuromuscular control when running off the bike.
Research with cyclists suggests a decreased load on the lower limbs by placing the shoe cleat more posteriorly, which may benefit subsequent running in a triathlon. This study investigated the effect of shoe cleat position during cycling on subsequent running. Following bike-run training sessions with both aft and traditional cleat positions, 13 well-trained triathletes completed a 30 min simulated draft-legal triathlon cycling leg, followed by a maximal 5 km run on two occasions, once with aft-placed and once with traditionally placed cleats. Oxygen consumption, breath frequency, heart rate, cadence and power output were measured during cycling, while heart rate, contact time, 200 m lap time and total time were measured during running. Cardiovascular measures did not differ between aft and traditional cleat placement during the cycling protocol. The 5 km run time was similar for aft and traditional cleat placement, at 1084 ± 80 s and 1072 ± 64 s, respectively, as was contact time during km 1 and 5, and heart rate and running speed for km 5 for the two cleat positions. Running speed during km 1 was 2.1% ± 1.8 faster (P < 0.05) for the traditional cleat placement. There are no beneficial effects of an aft cleat position on subsequent running in a short distance triathlon.