Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Who Has More Strides Per Minute, You or Usain Bolt? Answer - It's the Same!

The Post Game has a nice article about Peter Weyand's study about how all runners basically have the same stride rate, and differ only in force and the amount of time the foot is on the ground. That means you and Usain Bolt have the same stride rate!

Peter Weyand, a science professor at Southern Methodist University, conducted a study on speed about a decade ago. Comparing athletes to non-athletes, Weyand clocked both test groups as they ran at their top speed. What he found shocked him - stride rates are basically the same, but force and foot time can vary widely. He uses an analogy of super balls vs beach balls to compares the tight bound of a professional runner vs the rest of us, citing that a pro leaves their foot on the ground about .08 seconds vs our .12 seconds (a 60% difference), and exert 1000 lbs of force vs our 500-600 lbs. Pretty interesting!

The article then goes on to talk about why Usain Bolt is unique with his speed and height combined. Read the full story here.

Kudos to Michael Norton for passing this on...

- SD


  1. This was interesting and caught my attention. I've always been told that to be a better runner, practice my stride turnaround.

  2. This is very interesting indeed, thanks for sharing!

  3. He uses an analogy of super balls vs beach balls to compares the tight bound of a professional runner vs the rest of us.

  4. Comparing athletes to non-athletes,is not just a good thing.
    One must not do such kind of non-sense.

  5. What a poorly written article. It contradicts itself. According to the article an Olympic sprinter spends 0.08 seconds on his foot and 0.12 seconds in the air per stride, while an average person spends 0.12 second on the foot and 0.12 seconds in the air. That translates to a stride rate difference of 300/min for Olympian versus 250/min for average. (Those numbers appear to be sprinting numbers, not distance running numbers). That is a difference of 20% in stride rate!
    This difference is much less between elite marathoners (Haile, Tergat...) and competitive amateur marathoner (say 3:00). Haile's stride rate is around 95 (190 per foot/min), while a lot of coaches ask runners like me to shorten their stride and get it in the 90+ (180+) range. As an example - I'm not a fast marathoner (trying to run 3:10 this year), when I was first advised last year to improve my stride rate, my stride rate was 85+ a year later it is 92-97.


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