Faster running can result in LOWER stress on the knees!
One recent study assessed twenty runners at four different paces from (2.5-4.2 m/s) and measured peak and cumulative force on the patellafemoral (knee) joint.
PEAK forces and stress were higher at the highest speeds
But CUMULATIVE force and stress was LOWER at faster paces, with up to a 33% reduction from the slowest pace to fastest pace
Authors conclude: “Running at faster speeds increases the magnitude of peak PFJ kinetics but conversely results in less accumulated force over a set distance. Selecting moderate running speeds (~3.1 m/s) with reduced training duration or an interval-based approach may be more effective for managing cumulative PFJ kinetics compared to running at slow speeds.”
In other words, intervals aren’t only for the track..Whether walk-run or fartlek, this can also be useful in a variety of contexts
Doyle EW, Doyle TLA, Bonacci J, Beach AJ, Fuller JT. Cumulative patellofemoral force and stress are lower during faster running compared to slower running in recreational runners. Sports Biomech. 2023 Jun 26:1-13.
Allan Phillips, PT, DPT is owner of Ventana Physiotherapy