The current study examined variability and fluctuation in the running gait cycle, focusing on differences between trained distance runners and non-runners. The two groups of participants performed treadmill running at 80%, 100%, and 120% of their preferred speed for 10 min. Stride-interval time-series were recorded during running using footswitches. The average preferred speed was significantly higher for the trained runners than for the non-runners. The trained runners showed significantly smaller variability of stride interval than did the non-runners, and at the same time the scaling exponent alpha evaluated by detrended fluctuation analysis tended to be smaller for the trained runners. These results suggest that expert runners can reduce variability in the trained movement without loosing dynamical degrees of freedom for spatiotemporal organization of the gait pattern.
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