Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Advisor/Committee Chair

Cara Ocobock


The purpose of this study is to determine the energy expenditure of collegiate long distance runners in practice sessions and determine how energetics differ between six male and six female runners. Previous research has looked at aerobic capacity, injury risk, and dietary adequacy. Currently, there is little research on energetics (calories expended during a given running period) throughout a season. Energy expenditure was measured during nine practice sessions by using heart rate monitors. From this data we calculated mean submaximal heart rate (SHR) and used the Flex-Heart Rate method to estimate total energy expenditure (TEE) of the runners. We compared mean SHR and energy expenditure between males and females and within each runner throughout the cross-country season to determine if there were any adaptive changes in endurance ability. The results of this study are advantageous to coaches and athletes, who can utilize the results to create more effective training strategies. Results show an overall decrease in mean SHR and TEE by the end of the season compared to the beginning. Although males appear to show greater energy expenditure in endurance activity compared to females, there is no difference in energy costs when body mass is taken into account. These findings suggest that through daily endurance exercise, individuals are able to adapt to a given level of activity by becoming more physiologically efficient.

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