Economy can be defined on multiple terms. For the runner, let’s start with this:

Economy: prudent management of available resources.

On a biological level, a runner’s economy (RE) is often associated with VO2 Max and Respiratory Exchange Ratio (RER) (i.e. breathing capacity). For the purposes of the STRIDE Running Clinic, we’re going a little bit beyond this, incorporating self-controlled abilities into the mix.

A basic review of components of accepted Runner’s Economy (RE) is below:

Image result for running economy

As you can see, lots of factors play into overall running economy. Taking a closer look, each component of the STRIDE Running Clinic covers overall running economy, and that’s the “finish line” so to say, for the STRIDE Running acronym (S, T, R, I, D, E- for those who forgot).

Economy is accurately defined to be a careful management of the body’s available resources. Let’s start with the most prevalent:

Breathing Capacity

Finding and testing your own VO2 Max or RER can be a challenge independent of those trained in the testing of such, but it can be done. There are a variety of resources to do so, and a fair amount of safe education for those undertaking the task. A summary chart of heart rate and VO2 Max is below:

vo2 Max zones

Having a good idea of your VO2 Max, especially in relation to perceived exertion (see the Intensity blog)- is a great idea. It gives you a solid, biological understanding of exactly what we’re hitting on: your body’s economical tolerance to what it’s intake has been (nutrition, oxygen, etc.). Following a good test (of the many that are out there), doing a little bit of math, and keeping track of your state of fitness will all be ways to have the best understanding of your body’s main engine for long distance running.

The Best Version of Yourself

“Become who you are” is a great quote to remember when considering running economy. Weighing multiple factors: training, body type, physiology, running environment, personal biomechanics, reasoning skills, and the minor factors underlying each are all the components that make up the runner’s resources. How you use them is how you maximize your efficiency when running (ie. your economy).

The STRIDE Running Clinic and acronym is made in the runner’s best interest, to allow for tangible, manageable changes, as they are needed. Using it as a tool for each run is an efficient “checks and balances” resource to address the main components of you specifically, as a runner. A brief review of the STRIDE system:

  1. Strike: When the foot hits the ground, everything changes. The way you make contact during running has a large influence on how the rest of your body moves.
  2. Tactility: Touch matters. Shoe type, running surface, incline, among other ways you “feel” all impact how you run…and how you change the way you run.
  3. Rhythm: The rhythm of your run and the number of steps you take per unit of time can have positive (and negative) effects on your running quality, depending on your goals.
  4. Intensity: Running is more than just biomechanics. Perceived and actual effort will ultimately affect how much control you have while running, and how well you can meet your goals and expectations.
  5. Discernment: Discernment gives direction. Making good judgements about your run before, during, and afterward allow you to continually improve on achieving your goals.
  6. Economy: Ultimately, running well for a prolonged period of time comes down to economy. How well are you managing your resources? Each running component has an influence on another- the better steward you are with your gifts will allow you to be the best runner you are capable of becoming.


The six part series on the STRIDE Running Series ends here, and further posts on the blog will entail more specific tools, resources, videos, and running developments for you, the runner, to become the best version of yourself.


Further Resources for the academic or interested:

Factors affecting running economy in trained distance runners.

The self-paced VO2max test to assess maximal oxygen uptake in highly trained runners.

The efficacy of the self-paced V̇O2max test to measure maximal oxygen uptake in treadmill running.