He tropezado con este artículo por pura casualidad. Ha sido esta mañana ojeando la sección del NY Times en El Pais mientras almorzaba, y la verdad que me ha parecido muy interesante. He intentado acceder a él en la web pero todo lo que he conseguido ha sido la versión original (en ingles).
Running Efficiency: It’s Good, but How Do You Get It?

In her prime, Joan Benoit Samuelson, one of the best female distance runners, should have been faster than Alberto Salazar, one of the best male distance runners.

Ms. Samuelson’s running was beautifully smooth. Mr. Salazar’s was not.

“He looked terrible,” said Jack Daniels, an exercise physiologist at the Center for High Altitude Training at Northern Arizona University, who studied both runners in the 1980’s. “She looked great.”

Not only that but Ms. Samuelson also had an amazing ability to use oxygen to fuel her body, Dr. Daniels said. Even though women’s maximum oxygen consumption, or VO2 max, is typically lower than that of men, hers was as high as Mr. Salazar’s. Maximum oxygen consumption was often considered one of the best predictors of performance in distance events.

But Mr. Salazar always ran faster than Ms. Samuelson. The difference between them turned out to be one of the least understood and most mythologized aspects of performance: economy of motion. It’s the relationship between how much energy you expend and how fast you go.

“How much is it costing you to run 10 miles an hour?” Dr. Daniels asked. “If it costs you less than it costs someone else, you are more economical.”

Mr. Salazar, despite his less than classic running style, expended less energy when he ran. So when he and Ms. Samuelson put out the same effort, he ran faster.

Economy can make the difference between being fast and being slow, between winning and losing in swimming to skiing, cycling to speed skating, running to rowing.

But economy is baffling. It seems to be physiological, but it is not clear what exactly is involved. Is it an ability of muscles to use energy, an ability to use a variety of muscles in concert, an ability of nerves to activate certain muscles for a task while allowing other muscles to relax, an ability of nerves to fire in near-perfect patterns? Or is it all of these things in combination?

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