I’ve never been a very fast runner. My Parkrun speed is only 6.2 mph. Mostly I run for the mood ‘high’ that running gives me. I reckon that Jill, the family guinea pig, can run faster than me (size related). Guinea pigs can run at speeds of up to 8 mph! How come they can go so fast? Looking at some of the tech in running shoes might help us to understand why. There was a great article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine about this. Lets look at the Nike ‘Vaporfly’, which is claimed to help us run up to 6% faster! This is due to three design changes:
Firstly a carbon-fibre plate that shifts the point of lift-off forwards, increasing the upwards and forwards forces of lift-off, much like the long foot of a guinea-pig!
Secondly: more springy foam in the sole, returning 32% more energy, a bit like the elastic tendons in a guinea-pigs leg.
Thirdly: a thicker sole, increasing stride length and improving efficiency.
If my legs were longer, maybe I would be able to run faster? If Jills were too, perhaps she also could. Now that would be scary! My own running shoes are made by Saucony. They are currently extremely muddy, having just come back from a run to Culham, and back, via a very muddy riverbank!
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