Have you ever thought about what the components of speed are? How is one person faster than another? A variety of components come into play: body weight, muscle mass, type of muscle fibers, training, etc.
More than a decade ago, Peter Weyand, a science professor at Southern Methodist University, conducted a study on speed. Comparing athletes to non-athletes, Weyand clocked both test groups as they ran at their top speed. What he found shocked him.
“The amount of time to pick up a leg and put it down is very similar,” he says. “It surprised us when we first figured it out.”
So if leg turnover is the same, how does one person run faster than another?
Weyand discovered that speed is dependent upon two variables: The force with which one presses against the ground and how long one applies that force.
Think of the legs as springs. The more force they can push against the ground, the further they can propel the body forward, thus maximizing the output of each individual step. In a full sprint, the average person applies about 500 to 600 pounds of force. An Olympic sprinter can apply more than 1,000 pounds.
Does this explain how Stacy shaved a full 6 minutes off her 10k PR, doing nothing but CrossFit? Perhaps. It stands to reason that stronger people can generate more force with each footstrike. Our job is to develop that. If you are interested in running slow, keep doing what you’re doing. If you want speed, join us.
Workout of the Day
As many rounds as possible in 12 minutes of:
7 Overhead Squats (65/95)
7 Kettlebell Snatches-Right Hand (1/1.5 Pood)
7 Kettlebell Snatches-Left Hand (1/1.5 Pood)