"Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.”

- George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Effect of 3"

I like numbers. Please allow me to put on my math geek hat for a moment.

I've been thinking about the importance of stretching recently. I don't do a lot of it, but the more I read of and about elite runners, they all swear by it. I don't remember where I saw it, but I was reading recently about the benefits of stretching and becoming more flexible and how being able to lengthen each step by just 3" would have significant effects on your race. So that got me thinking (and calculating). Here's what I found:

Let's start with a premise of 3.35 feet in distance for every step.
Over 26.2 miles, you will have taken 41,280 steps.

If you could extend each step by just 3", (to 3.60 feet/step), you could cover 26.2 miles in 38,426 steps, or 2,854 less steps.

How much difference would 3" per step make?

Calculate the distance of the 2,854 steps you're NOT taking, by the original length of 3.35 feet/step.

That gives you a distance of 9,560 feet...or 1.81 miles.

How much energy would it take to add an additional 3" per step? Would it be less than the energy required to run 1.81 miles at your original step-length?

My guess is yes.

I'll be stretching from now on.

(note: if anyone has seen any calculation like this anywhere else, please let me know and I'll post it.)

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