Running: what the metabolism collects on D +

Muscles worked, VO2 max increased, energy expenditure higher: we explain what your body endures during a running session with a positive elevation gain.
The Race to the Summit is a challenge that invites you to cover 500 meters of elevation gain in one month, from June 1 to 30, 2021. Want to try? To participate, it is here that it happens . But be aware that the exercise is demanding and will require very specific training .
We also took the opportunity to ask Fabrice Joulia, doctor in extreme sports physiology , to explain to us how your metabolism would react.
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Alexander Brandner-Egger and Michael Strasser perform at the Red Bull 400 in Bischofshofen, Austria on October 3, 2020.
Red Bull 400 participants are real machinesLes participants du Red Bull 400 sont de vraies machines
© Nina Baumgartner/Red Bull Content Pool
Higher energy expenditure
“On a climb, muscular work is much more important than on the flat,” begins Fabrice Joulia. “As a result, the energy required to travel the same distance is going to be much greater. For example, if we run 5 km on the flat with 1000 meters of elevation gain, the energy expenditure is 8700 k / cal, or the equivalent of 12.5 km flat. “
In other words, the greater the positive elevation, the greater the energy expenditure. “We consider that for a slope of 20%, the energy expenditure is two to three times greater than on the flat for the same distance traveled,” he continues. “As a result, the sweating is also more abundant. “
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The lower muscles used more
You do not run the same way uphill as you do on the flat or downhill. “For slopes of less than 10%, the runner will not need specific training,” explains the doctor. “From 20%, more muscles will be used than to move on level ground – – and this explains why the profile of the trailers is quite different from the profile of the classic long-distance runners. The latter develop muscle masses in the lower limbs, such as the calves and thighs, which are much larger. “
Unless you have the opportunity to complete this challenge on a one kilometer hill, you will have to go through phases of ascents and descents. “On the way up, the work of the muscles is concentric,” explains Fabrice Joulia. “The muscle will concentrate in its classic phase of developing a force, while in the descents the work will be eccentric, that is to say that the muscle will act as a brake. »And in this phase of braking, your joints will undergo some shocks.
Runners give their all during the Red Bull 400 race in Ratece, Slovenia on September 14, 2019.
You obviously do not have to complete the challenge on such a drop
© Jure Makovec/Red Bull Content Pool
Relatively significant trauma
“When you run flat, you attack with the heel and you end up on the toe,” says the doctor. “On the way up, it is the tip of the foot that is mainly used. When going downhill, you usually start with the back of your foot. But unless the muscles are very developed and they help absorb shocks, the downhill phases ultimately lead to a negative impact on the joints, greater fatigue, and therefore a higher risk of injury than on the dish. “
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An increased VO2 max
“The runners who are efficient on the climb are generally on the flat, but this is not true on the other hand,” warns Fabrice Joulia. “But the steeper the slope, the more the body will adapt specifically to this type of exercise. Muscle power as well as aerobic metabolism will adapt very quickly and your VO2 max will be much higher than during a more traditional running session. “
Hormones on the moon
“As in any sporting discipline, the brain will release endorphin, but also catecholamines, (such as adrenaline or dopamine editor’s note), which will accelerate the heartbeat, and therefore promote the circulation of blood and oxygen to the muscles. These catecholamines will also increase your alertness and your reflexes. In short, you will become a ninja. Ok, a breathless ninja, but that’s it already.
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