• The Formula to Run Faster

    Here is a scientifically based formula for analyzing running efficiency.

    Recognizing that running is work allows us to use a physics equation to represent and measure the rate or efficiency of running. This is important because athletes who complete running work more efficiently are able to run faster.

    The rate at which work is being completed is called power in physics. Power is a measure of efficiency, and is defined by the following equation:

    Average Power = Work/Time (timespan of work)

    You increase your running power (i.e., efficiency) by increasing the work or displacement that you achieve in the same amount of time or by decreasing the time that it takes you to achieve the same displacement (i.e., run the same distance).

    Running requires mechanical power.

    Because running requires mechanical power, we can use algebra and our understanding of work and velocity to transform the equation for average power into the equation for mechanical power.

    Since work is the product of force and displacement we can first convert the Average Power equation to read:

    Power = Force x Displacement/Time

    The ratio of displacement over time is the physics definition of velocity. We can therefore finalize our equation of mechanical power to represent the efficiency of running as follows:

    Mechanical Power = Force x Velocity

    To become a faster runner you must increase the rate of power at which you do running work by increasing the amount of force you apply and the velocity at which you move.

    I’ll talk more in upcoming posts about mechanical power and take a closer look at how to enhance force and velocity to run faster.


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