I have noticed that you can put more "force" in to each press off the ground when running, making it more of a power run, or a fast sprint, or the kind of running footballers do when they go to tackle another player.

This kind of running differs from running regularly, like on track and field, to me at least.

Long-distance runners do not focus on the "force" or "push" behind each movement as much, such as a wrestler or football player would. They just focus on the endurance and mobility to keep going, but not completely on the power trade off.

So is there any difference between a trade off regarding "running speed" versus "running power"?

PS: This is not just regarding fast-twitch versus slow-twitch muscle fiber types, but a different carry-out force measurement in different practical implementations of the movement.

  • 1
    What makes you think endurance runners don't focus on the push behind the movement? If anything, they have to be MORE focused on form because they are at it so much longer that form breaks have a greater impact. As for the rest, speed to power is a straight equation, regardless of distance.
    – JohnP
    Jun 11, 2013 at 21:05

3 Answers 3


Ive once read a study/article about running technique, but Im afraid I cant find it right now. I can summarise it tho.

Basically, there are a few factors determining running speed. Those are stride length, flight time, ground contact time, stride frequency.

The study showed that at some level of competitiveness, most top athletes had a very similar stride frequency - mening that they put one leg ahead of the other in almost the same rythm. You could conclude that you just cant do it faster.

If you can make only so many steps in a certain amount of time, how do you get faster? You make longer strides, maximizing flight time, and minimizing ground contact. How to achieve that? You have to push with more power, more dynamically.

This of course is true for an all-out effort. You do that when trying to reach max speed, at the highest exercise intensity. You wont be able to sustain such a run for longer periods. In my opinion, thats why long distance runners may not be putting so much focus on the "power" of their running - they are pacing themselves and conserving energy for the long run.

  • +1 That's exactly the point. First one must decide what speed is considered: the maximum value of meters covered each second, or 'minimizing' the time required to cover a longer distance.
    – anaheim
    Jun 14, 2013 at 11:55

Assuming all other things are equal (running form, for example), if you produce more power, you'll run faster. Somebody that is running faster is producing more power. There is no trade-off.


The higher intensity of 'push' in each stride manifests itself in acceleration. That is the variable your are considering, not speed itself. What you call 'running power' simply implies reaching a specific speed faster. The 'end' force you have to constantly apply to maintain that effective speed is the same, no matter how fast you reached it earlier.

In synthesis; football players do almost all of their running in constant acceleration, where as running athletes on medium or long distances reach their pace and keep it for several minutes to hours. The speed the football player has reached before a tackle however must not necessarily be higher than the speed of a track and field athlete running the mile.

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