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Decoding the Lightning: Usain Bolt’s Biomechanics

Author: Jere Longman, New York Times.

Reproduced from: http://www.deccanherald.com/content/624150/decoding-lightning.html

Usain Bolt of Jamaica appeared on a video screen in a white singlet and black tights, sprinting in slow motion through the final half of a 100-metre race. Each stride covered nine feet, his upper body moving up and down almost imperceptibly, his feet striking the track and rising so rapidly that his heels did not touch the ground.

Bolt is the fastest sprinter in history, the world-record holder at 100 and 200 metres and the only person to win both events at three Olympics. Yet as he approaches his 31st birthday and retirement this summer, scientists are still trying to fully understand how Bolt achieved his unprecedented speed.

Last month, researchers at Southern Methodist University, among the leading experts on the biomechanics of sprinting, started considering a number of questions as Bolt prepares for what he said would be his final performances at a major international competition — the 100 metres and 4×100-metre relay next month at the world track and field championships in London.

At its most basic, speed is the product of stride length times stride frequency. Though Bolt stands 6 feet 5 inches, he starts nearly as explosively as smaller sprinters and needs only 41 strides to cover 100 metres, while other elite runners need 43 or 45 or even 48.

No sprinter can accelerate for a full 100 metres. But once Bolt reaches top speed at 60 to 70 metres, he maintains his velocity more efficiently than others, decelerating less toward the finish line. The winner of a sprint is not the person speeding up the fastest at the end but slowing down the slowest.

It was once widely assumed that the swiftest runners achieved top speed by swinging their legs more rapidly than slow runners while repositioning their limbs between takeoff and landing.

In a 2000 study, Weyand, then working with a team at Harvard, determined that elite sprinters did not swing their legs appreciably quicker through the air. Instead, they gained maximum speed by striking the ground with a greater force than others in relation to their body weight, and for a shorter period of time.

For Olympic-calibre sprinters, that peak force can equal five times their body weight, providing lift and propulsion to begin the next stride. In Bolt’s case, his peak force can surpass 1,000 pounds.

 

Peak impact force is delivered within 0.03 seconds of striking the track. It is one of the most critical moments of sprinting. Less force put into the ground means less pop back into the air. Laurence Ryan, a physicist in the SMU lab, calls that period “30 milliseconds to glory.”
In other words, Weyand said, “You win your medal or you’re out of the running based on that short duration.”

Sprinters like Bolt land just behind the ball of the foot, which strikes the ground at an angle of about 6 degrees. His lower leg decelerates abruptly, absorbing 16 Gs of force. His heel drops for only 0.02 seconds — the equivalent of an inch — before rising again. The total time spent on the ground with each stride is about 0.09 seconds.

In effect, there is one biomechanical way for world-class sprinters to run extremely fast.
The SMU researchers did not know that one of Bolt’s legs was longer than the other when they began their study six months ago. They were testing a new motion-based technique, called the two-mass model, which allows them to determine ground forces by using high-speed video of races instead of specially equipped treadmills in the lab.

Udofa, the lead researcher, examined 20 steps apiece taken by Bolt and three other elite 100-metre sprinters, using video from a race in Monaco in 2011.

On average, Bolt struck the ground with 1,080 pounds of peak force on his right leg and 955 pounds on his left leg. Because his right leg is shorter, it has a slightly longer drop to the track, contributing to a higher velocity for that step. A natural adaptation for Bolt has been to keep his left leg on the ground for slightly more time with each step — 0.097 seconds, compared with 0.085 seconds for the right leg. This gives him slightly more time to generate force with the left leg, Weyand said, providing greater lift off the ground.

There is one person who apparently does not find the SMU research particularly interesting. That is Bolt himself, according to his agent, Ricky Simms, who said in an email, “He isn’t the kind of person who studies this type of thing.”

10 Week Guide To Running Better

If you have just taken up running, or are getting back to running after a long break, all the advice about running can sometimes seem dizzying and confusing!

Worry not! We have worked with some awesome coaches as well as sports medicine specialists to bring a you a simple, 10-week guide that will break down the complexity of running for you, and keep things simple and sensible. With your Stridalyzer and this 10-week guide, you’d be able to get, literally, up and running and at the same time have fun and avoid injuries.

And – once you have gone through it – Let us know your feedback on this 10-week running plan!

Stridalyzer 10 Week Guide

Stridalyzer 10 Week Guide

Get Ready For The Big Marathons Of This Season

Marathoners running.

Marathoners running.

 

Berlin Marathon

Race Day: 24 September

http://www.bmw-berlin-marathon.com/en/

Having begun in the year 1974, Berlin Marathon is a big running event held annually in Berlin, Germany, on the last weekend of September. It is one of the most popular races in the world, and saw 46,950 entrants in 2016. The most marathon world records for men and women have been set here, where the surface is even and temperatures are mild.

Chicago Marathon

Race Day: 8 October

https://www.chicagomarathon.com/

The Chicago Marathon is one of the six World Marathon Majors, and is held annually in Chicago, Illinois. Chicago Marathon, earlier known as Mayor Daley Marathon was first held in 1977 and is now the fourth-largest race by number of finishers worldwide. Since 2008 the race has been sponsored by Bank of America, and is officially known as the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

Dublin Marathon

Race Day: 27 October

http://sseairtricitydublinmarathon.ie/

The Dublin Marathon is an an annual full marathon (26.2 mile/ 42.2 km) event, held not the last Sunday of October (earlier, it was on the last Monday). The race was founded in 1980. Runners participating in the Dublin Marathon run a largely flat, scenic course through Dublin’s City Centre. The Dublin marathon is associated to a series of 4 other races in the calendar year. These races include, The Irish Runner 5 mile, The Frank Duffy 10 mile, Final 10k and the Dublin half Marathon.

New York City Marathon

Race Day: 5 November

http://www.tcsnycmarathon.org/

The New York City Marathon started in the year 1970 and is the largest marathon in the world, with over 51,000 finishers in 2016 and almost 100,000 applicants for 2017! The first race was run entirely in Central Park, but the course now loops through the five boroughs of New York City, with streets lined with spectators and entertainment.

Osaka Marathon

Race Day: 26 November

http://www.osaka-marathon.com/index_en.html

Osaka Marathon is an annual event held in Osaka, Japan in October. Aside from running the classic 26.2 mile distance, there is also a challenge run of 5.46 mile distance. The first race took place in 2011, which saw 27161 entrants and 26175 finishers.

Trainers, meet your new best friend!

Stridalyzer Trainer's Tool

Stridalyzer Trainer’s Tool

As a trainer or a coach, you know how important it is to assign appropriate training plans to trainees (customized to their individual needs), and then monitor and adapt that training plan over time.

With Stridalyzer’s Trainer’s Toolkits:

  • You can create Training Plans online, and assign to your trainees.
  • You can Monitor the progress of your athlete from anywhere.
  • Go into the details of your Trainee’s performance, in great detail with every relevant parameter available for you to look into!
  • Our Intelligent recommendation engine also highlights potential areas of improvements or risks of injuries, so that you can focus on those areas.
  • Generate and send a 1-page report to your trainee with their current performance analysis, your assessment, and areas to focus on in future.
  • The changes are automatically pushed to your trainee’s Stridalyzer App, and you get notified as and when the trainee completes the plan (or not).

Check out the details of how to use Training Plan tools to deliver the best, personally customized training using Stridalyzer Trainer’s Toolkit. Learn more.

Trainer’s Toolkit Guide:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B78N_GPy7pqxNnVHalR2dkJySDQ/view?usp=sharing

Expert Connect report:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3a2qjWHhacCRWV5VlRhWDB4anc/view?usp=sharing

Stridalyzer Offer

Enter our monthly giveaway to win Stridalyzer products every month. Yes, you can participate EVERY. MONTH. All you need to do is, Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter or Subscribe to our Newsletter to be automatically entered into the giveaway, and win prizes! Head to http://www.retisense.com/ to learn more. 

Monthly Giveaway

Monthly Giveaway

How Important Is Strength Training?

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Photo Credit: Pixabay

As a Trainer, you know that to become an efficient runner, just running isn’t going to be enough. Strength training is one of the most important things. These four running specific strength training exercises by Runners World will help your trainee become a stronger, faster, more complete runner.

  1. Bodyweight Squats
  2. Single-Leg Deadlifts
  3. Core Workout
  4. Single-Leg Squats

You can assign and monitor your trainee’s running and progress via Stridalyzer Training Plan. It helps you assess how well your trainee is following your assigned plan, and lets you make changes as and when you need! Want to know more? Click here: http://www.retisense.com/trainers-doctors/

Post-Run Recovery Tips

Photo Credits: www.fitnessviking.com

Distance runners tend to push their bodies to the edge of their ability and then wait for them to heal and recover. That’s what training is. It’s hard, but worth it. However, recovery may not always be easy. Below are some tips that will surely make it a better process:

a. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! After workout, begin by hydrating within the first 10-15 minutes of stopping.

b. Keep a post workout snack ready. Something like yogurt and granola, banana and peanut butter bagel with orange juice. Aim for a 4 to 1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein.

c. Stretch after your workout, it is a MUST. The stretching should ideally begin within 30 minutes of finishing your workout, and should last at least 10 minutes.

d. Ice bath. As miserable as it sounds, you will realise the pain was totally worth it, afterward.

e. Eat a balanced meal at least an hour or plus before your workout.

Did you know? Stridalyzer’s 5-star rating helps you determine whether your client is regressing towards another injury! Learn more about Stridalyzer will help your clients: http://www.retisense.com/trainers-doctors/

Running After A Break

Runner

It’s happened to the best of us. You start running, you’re on fire and running is all you can think of. After each run, you feel unstoppable, and you can’t wait until tomorrow, so you can do it all again. And then, WHAM! Suddenly, something stops you right in your tracks; You get hurt, busy or tired. You’re not running anymore. Getting back in the groove is one of the hardest things to do, we know the feeling. Here are some tips to get you back on your feet:

  1. Start with something easy
  2. Get a running partner
  3. Set small, achievable goals
  4. Remember how good running made you feel
  5. Schedule it, as part of your daily routine
  6. Take a one-month challenge
  7. Do it for yourself, not for anything or anyone else

Stridalyzer’s proprietary rating system called the “5-Star System” is great way to keep track of your running; this intelligent sensing system not only tracks your activity but also guides you on how to ramp it up, full with audio-visual alerts on potential injuries. Learn more: http://www.retisense.com/whats-new/

Training For A Marathon: Do’s And Don’ts

Photo Credits: Pixabay

You have been training hard for your marathon and it’s just around the corner. And, if it’s your first, you’re most definitely nervous and stressed out. Fret not, we’ve put together some do’s and don’ts, that might help you be better prepared for the marathon.a gel, and relax.  The low points pass if you let yourself get by them.

S.No Do’s Don’ts

1

Land on the midsole of your foot. This allows your muscles to catch the weight of your body in flight, reducing the effects of impact on the joints and bones. Don’t use long strides; it is inefficient and an energy drain

2

Take short, effective strides; less motion through the joint means less wear and tear and improved efficiency during your runs. Don’t wear shoes that are too comfortable. If your support is coming from your shoes, then the muscles designed to support the framework of the foot will eventually fail to do their job, making the foot weaker and your body more prone to injury.

3

Work up to running farther & faster. Build your run one block, or one minute at a time. Interval training can work wonders for this. Don’t get stuck on the odometer. Running three, five or even 26 miles doesn’t really tell you if there is any progress in your run. Instead, track the amount of time that you’re running and monitor your intensity using a heart rate monitor.

4

Rest your body whenever needed. Skipping a single training run or cutting a workout short isn’t going to keep you from finishing the race, but it may help keep you injury free. Don’t forget that marathon training is long and hard.  Watch running movies, run with training groups, or do anything else that keeps you motivated during a training lull.

5

Do get in all your long runs. It’s important.  Whether it’s your first race or your fifteenth, getting in the long miles builds confidence, trains your legs, and prepares your body. Don’t panic when you hit a low point.  Take a few deep breaths, down a gel, and relax.  The low points pass if you let yourself get by them.

More information here: http://www.active.com/running/articles/10-do-s-and-don-ts-for-better-runs

Your Awesome Insole + Our Awesome Tech = Double Awesome!

Are you a custom-insole maker who’d go that extra mile to make your clients happy? If yes, then read on.

We, the creators of Stridalyzer smart insoles, want to give the best to our customers. And, while we know our technology is awesome, we also know your insoles are great for your customers! So, how about if we could get OUR tech into YOUR insoles

Stridalyzer’s cutting-edge technology will perfectly fit into any pair of insoles. Perfect for not just runners, but physiotherapists, coaches, and pretty much anything that involves physical activity, our technology can be bought separately to offer your clients a little more.

Learn about partnerships with Stridalyzer:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/shehl3vg5f45w6b/Custom%20Insole%20Partnership.pdf?dl=0

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