Last Updated on April 22, 2014 by Amir Rehman
Usain Bolt won the 100 meters because of his speed endurance.
I’ve said this all along, unless you are running a 40 yard dash or 50 meter sprint, sprinting the 100, 200, or 400 meters is all about speed endurance… reach your top speed, and maintain it. The winner of two athletes with the same top end speed will be the one who decelerates the least.
Most world class 100 meter men reach their top speed within 50-60 meters. Women reach their top end speed a bit earlier, so more of their race is speed endurance.
I have collected 10 meter segment splits for the last 20 years. And yes, I am including Ben Johnson and Tim Montgomery because they still ran those times, supplementation included. I am looking for relative comparisons.
In the chart below, RT = reaction time and is included in the 0-10m segment.
Disclaimer: These are not IAAF official splits but splits extracted from high speed video analysis
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Until Bolt came along, 0.83 was the fastest top end speed recorded. 0.83 seconds per 10 meters translates to 12 meters per second (m/s) or almost 27 miles per hour (mph) or 43 kilometers per hour (kph).
Ben Johnson’s time of 9.79 could be extrapolated at 9.72 if he didn’t slow down and celebrate, assuming 0.85 seconds rate for the last 20 meters (0.2 + 0.5)
If you extrapolate Usain Bolt’s last 10 meter segment, without the chest thumping, it would be fair to say he would have ran 0.84 or 0.85 seconds, making his 100m World Record 9.63 or 9.64.
Jimmie R. Markham of 400meteroval.com submitted this nice 3D graph:
Also, a 9.64 doubled plus or minus +/- 0.2 seconds = 19.28 for 200 meters, which is the pretty close to his 19.30 World Record.
It is a known fact that Bolt (or his coach) was concentrating his efforts in the 200 and 400 meters over the past few years. He only took the 100 meters seriously this year, which is a scary thought.
Hence, 200/400 training involves 3 main components: speed, speed endurance, and special endurance.
Usain Bolt is all the proof we need.
I totally dissagree with you. I don’t believe that the 100m is about speed endurance. I’m not trying to argue and make you look wrong and me look right. Not at all. In fact. I just want your real view on what I will just say. Please try to understand me. It can help everyone. I’m not a super hero or anything. I just made it to worlds once and went out of the heats. But I during my life of training I have found out that the top speed you reach is what makes you win or loose. The top speed split. Its no use to reach 0.90 and hold it for four consecutive splits. But it is much better to reach 0.83 and drop 0.03 each split after. You would be faster than the 0.90 guy who has busted his ass trying to hold his speed, AND succeeded to hold it, but still lost.
Another note is: I have found that the only sessions that helpped me improve my top speed splits where the endurance ones. But that I don’t understand. When I do 80-150 distances in training, my top speed becomes better and better in no time and you always get the extra speed endurance you need. So is it a two bladed sword that cuts both ways? Cuts your top speed split and deceleration rate? Thoughts.
Jimson Lee says
@Amr – This blog is OPEN to ALL discussions. I respect constructive criticism.
The point I was trying to make is:
1) Bolt had the highest top end speed ever recorded
2) Bolt didn’t slow down between 50-90m
Your training comment remind me of Clyde Hart’s philosophy: Run SLOWER to run FASTER. You can still improve top end speed by running slower. That article was referenced here:
Thanks for your feedback.
Just wanted to know if anyone had the times for the Jamaican 4*100 mens’ relay team that broke the record last week.
Jimson Lee says
@Ramon – that is a good question. I hope the passing zones and lane markers are visible in high speed video.
Gary Diny says
Does anyone have the 100 meter split times from Usain BOlt’s WR in May of 2008?
Bolt’s coach claimed that Bolt could run a 9.52. If you take all the best split times from all the runners from the data above you get a 9.58. if you consider that bolt has the ability to maintain top speed through the line you get a 9.6. If you also consider the psychology, it is likely that Bolt has peaked prematurely and will not beat his own world record. The worst thing that could have happened, did. Bolt took gold at his first try and he may not get the same (cliche warning) eye of the tiger feeling back.
I dont see him getting under 9.68 let alone 9.6.
Jack Howard says
i am running 10.89 what can i do to improve my speed?? can you help me on this..
Jimson Lee says
@Scott – good point, I never thought to aggregate all the best split times.
His performance at Zurich showed he was human, with an awful start. He still made up ground pretty quickly, and still won in 9.8
Jimson Lee says
@Jack – I’d say work on your top end speed, so work on getting faster for 30m. Then 40, then 50, then 60.
No use running 100m “slow”.
This method is called “short to long”.
Here’s a nice little piece from the arXiv.org website:
Physics > Popular Physics
Velocity dispersions in a cluster of stars: How fast could Usain Bolt have run?
H. K. Eriksen, J. R. Kristiansen, O. Langangen, I. K. Wehus
(Submitted on 1 Sep 2008 (v1), last revised 2 Sep 2008 (this version, v2))
Since that very memorable day at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, a big question on every sports commentator’s mind has been “What would the 100 meter dash world record have been, had Usain Bolt not celebrated at the end of his race?”
Glen Mills, Bolt’s coach suggested at a recent press conference that the time could have been 9.52 seconds or better. We revisit this question by measuring Bolt’s position as a function of time using footage of the run, and then extrapolate into the last two seconds based on two different assumptions.
First, we conservatively assume that Bolt could have maintained Richard Thompson’s, the runner-up, acceleration during the end of the race. Second, based on the race development prior to the celebration, we assume that he could also have kept an acceleration of 0.5 m/s^2 higher than Thompson. In these two cases, we find that the new world record would have been 9.61 +/- 0.04 and 9.55 +/- 0.04 seconds, respectively, where the uncertainties denote 95% statistical errors.
Comments: 5 pages, 4 figures, submitted American Journal of Physics; high-resolution NBC footage allowed better measurements between 6 and 8 seconds compared to version 1
Subjects: Popular Physics (physics.pop-ph); Astrophysics (astro-ph)
Cite as: arXiv:0809.0209v2 [physics.pop-ph]
From: Hans Kristian Eriksen [view email]
[v1] Mon, 1 Sep 2008 11:22:17 GMT (2828kb)
[v2] Tue, 2 Sep 2008 10:18:13 GMT (2824kb)
Forgot to add this altered information from version 1 of the above article:
“In these two cases, we find that the new world record would have been 9.56 +/- 0.02 and 9.52 +/- 0.02 seconds, respectively, where the uncertainties denote statistical (measuring) errors only.”
TYRONE K . BURROWS says
I AGREE THAT BOLT COULD HAVE RAN FASTER,MAY BE 9.60 SEC. I FEEL TAHT A HEALTHY TYSON GAY WOULD HAVE FORCED BOLT NOT TO SHOW BOAT AT THE END OR THE LAST 15M HENCE FORCING HIM TO RUN THRU THE LINE…….
You’re right, Tyrone. In their race from this past week, Bolt had to put in his full effort for the latter part of the race. Here is the full physics article in pdf form as it is a good insight in to how they arrived at their conclusion:
The splits at arXiv.org don’t mesh with the splits listed above. For example, at arXiv.org, they say Bolt was at 41.3 meters in 4.5 seconds. But in the splits above, Bolt didn’t even reach 40 meters until 4.65 seconds had elapsed. They say he was at 52.1 meters in 5.4 seconds, but in the splits above, he didn’t even reach 50 meters until 5.50 seconds had elapsed. They say he was at 61.5 meters in 6.20 seconds, but in the splits above, he didn’t even reach 60 meters until 6.32 seconds hald elapsed.
Also, in the article at arXiv.org, they say he ran from 34.0 meters to 41.3 meters in 0.5 seconds (from 4.0 to 4.5), which would be 14.6 meters per second — or 32.66 mph! That equates to a 10-meter split of 0.685 seconds â€” much faster than the accepted record split of 0.82 seconds set by Maurice Greene and matched by Bolt.
Clearly, something is amiss.
Good observation and analysis. The chart listed at the top of this post has a Disclaimer: These are not IAAF official splits but splits extracted from high speed video analysis.
The arXiv article states: The main technical difficulty in performing this analysis lies in obtaining accurate distance measurements as a function of time for each runner. Fortunately, this task is made considerably easier by the presence of a moving camera mounted to a rail along the track. This rail is bolted to the ground at regular intervals, and thereby provides the required standard ruler. Using the methods detailed in the following sections, and properly taking into account all major sources of statistical uncertainty, we believe that our measurements are sufficiently accurate and robust to support interesting conclusions.
I believe the discrepancy could lie in how the exact time is determined for each of the relative positions of the runner during the course of the race. Is the time placed at the point dissecting the runner’s body or is it placed when his leading body part crosses that point? The original analysis could have been derived from an overhead video while the arXiv analysis was from the moving track camera.
On your second point concerning the 34.0m to 41.3m distance/time is right when Bolt reaches his highest speed for the entire race. He then levels or drops off in speed at 4.5 – 5.4 seconds. But you are correct in pointing out the incredible burst of speed at this moment. It would be grand if we could bring these points up to the authors of the arXiv article.
Jimson Lee says
@Fred – yes, like all scientific measurements, there is always a factor of uncertainty… at the worst case scenario, on a hundredths of a second measurememt, I may be off anywhere from 0.001 to 0.009 seconds.
But the end result is the same. Bolt still ran 9.69 and he blew away the field at 50 meters onwards.
In a way, this study is like taking your own weight on your bathroom scale – as long as it’s the same scale, and you measure at the same time of day with the same (or no) clothes, then your measurements are fairly accurate.
Ben Johnsonâ€™s time of 9.79 could be extrapolated at 9.72 if he didnâ€™t slow down and celebrate, assuming 0.85 seconds rate for the last 20 meters (0.2 + 0.5)
Shouldn’t this be (.02 + .05)?
Jimson Lee says
@John – yes, of course, you are absolutely correct! Too much number crunching!
It seems apparent to me that arXiv.org’s measurements are wrong early in the race, which overestimates Bolt’s speed in the first 80 meters and therefore produces a projected time much lower than what Bolt actually could have run.
By the way, Elio Locatelli of the IAAF reportedly has released Bolt’s official splits —
Reaction time 0.165
Final time 9.685
They’re slightly different from the splits kept by Pierre-Jean Vazel, but they’re closer to those than to the splits kept by arXiv.org.
do you think Asafa Powel is faster than Usain Bolt ?Why?
mane prashant says
no asafa powell is not fastwer than usain bolt…….
becoz usain is means that, when usain start 100meter then usain get full extention, also he don’t focused on other compititors…..
& he is very very great man…..
give a summary on why you think Usain Bolt is faster than Asafa Powel
Jimson Lee says
@Tamara – I think the above article explains it all – higher top end speed, and better speed endurance!
Do you think if Usain Bolt and Asafa powel race together ,asafa would win? why?
DO YOU THINK IF USAIN BOLT AND ASAFA POWEL RACE TOETER, ASAFA WOUU HAVE WON?WHY ?
DO YOU THINK BOLT IS FASTER THAN POWEL?WHY ?
You have succeeded in turning reiteration into a four letter word. Amazing. If someone crosses the finish line in less time than anyone else ever has, that person is generally considered to be the fastest.
WHY DO YOU THINK USAIN IS FASTER TAN ASAFA ?
YUH NUH SI SEH DI MAN GREAT AN HIM HAVE MORE COFIDENT INNA HIMSELF THAN ASAFA . MI RATE BOLT BIG TIME , BOLT TU DI FLIPPING WORL. AN NUH SEH AH BUYAS MI BUYAS BECAUSE MI AH JAMAICAN BUT AH BECAUSE HIM AH ONE GOOD ROLE MODEL.
John Stallcup says
What process or vendor does high speed video analysis in order to compare Usain Bolt’s performance to the others?
hey why is he so fast ?
and what do he eat ?
badger 69 says
me and my mate r running at the quick end of 12 secs. do u have any drills to help us improve our time?
Jimson Lee says
@badger – see:
do you know how many stides Bolt takes over the 100m? and the number of strides taken by any other 100m athletes?
Jimson Lee says
Bolt = 41 strides
Ben Johnson = 43 (44 with a headwind)
Mo Green = 46
hi i am 12 yrs old and can run 12.70 in the 100m can u tell me how 2 improve speed and speed endurance email me at firstname.lastname@example.org tnx
Have you signed with an agent yet? lol. Best wishes.
9.58sec!!!!!……Dont think there can be any question now as to who the two greatest sprinters of all time are. Bob Hayes v Usain Bolt…..what a show that would be:))
And for Jack, just enjoy your running, and play plenty of different sports before you decide to specialise. And never, ever start using weights until you have finished growing. You dont want to create a testosterone boost that can cause the growth plates in the long bones to fuse prematurely, and weight training WILL boost testosterone production. Believe me, you’ll be producing enough during your teenage years anyway:) lol.
Jack, i used to sprint and could break 12sec for the 100m at 13yrs. I thought i was quick until i came up against a kid from another province who had run a 10.9sec 100m…at the age of 12!!!. Did either of us, or any of the others we ran against go much further…no!. We were burnt out as kids. We were like fast 2yr old colts, that were finished before the great 3yr old races. Take time to have fun with your running. You already have good base speed, the strength and endurance will come.
have you got this same analysis for the 200m, with comparison against michael johnson’s world record race?
I heard MJ’s 2nd 100m was faster than Bolt’s 2nd 100m (in his 19.19 race).
I think everyone who keeps researching about Usain Bolt will just give up that Proffession by now.
@?Scott on September 2nd, 2008 3:19 pm, I think you can see that you thoughts were just blunders. Your head refused to accept that a Jamaican can destroy records as easy as buying chips at the tuck-shop. Hey, more is still coming.
Let me help you with your fluffy thinking – stop putting yourself under pressure by predicting as to How fast Usain Bolt can run.
Mark my words, he broke HIS records cleverly – both by 0.11s. Usain Bolt here he comes.
Matthew - Twitter for Business says
This is fascinating. I’ve been looking into Usain Bolt’s achievements recently and comparing his seemingly ground-breaking abilities to the mindset of athletes like Roger Bannister. Both made colossal steps forward when all around them said it couldn’t be done.
That kind of success is awe-inspiring. It’s great to see it broken down by an expert.
Hey, im 14 and run 100m in aboout 12 secs, i don’t do any training except running 80m 8 times once per week, any tips or any things i could do to improve my speed please ?? also i don’t have the stamina to run flat out 200m, thanks joe:)
Very interesting the way Bolt wasn’t exactly the fastest over 10 metres yet his stride length seemed to benefit him later on…
david donner says
usain bolt is tall
those times are interesting i have a Timing system i use for training its FAT…im training for indoor right now. And when i Test my 10m i have gotten 1.88… which is Elite according to that chart?? but when i test my 30m i have not gotten under 4.2 yet. However its January temperatures are still very cold. in NJ
im training for a realy big race in school… got any tips?
How convenient to leave Donovan Bailey out of this. What exactly is Bolt’s highest top end speed? There have been many different numbers thrown around but there seems to be nothing official. Until there is proof of something better than 43.6 kph I’ll always see Bailey as the fastest man in history. 9.84 sounds slow now but at Atlanta he was practically last after 30 metres, rounded them up and won clearly. Bolt had a great start and only ran .15 seconds faster.
Dude both Tyson Gay and Usain Bolt have run over 44kph!!! They’re both faster than Bailey ever was even at his top speed. Even if Bailey got a better start, who’s to say that he would of still reached that top speed? Just accept that Bolt is the fastest man in recorded history.
i can run 100m in 12.02s. i timed my self for 30m and i found that i i could run it in 3.91s, is that possible or have i timed it wrong
mate you have misinterpreted the entire article.
It has never been said that speed endurance wins the race. it is a no brainer that the equation is speed + speed endurance. it is possible for an athlete to win a 100m with a far slower top speed than another, but greater speed endurance, and vice versa.
consider a race where an athlete loses an average of 0.03s per 10m segment from 30-60m but gains an average 0.03s from 60 to 100m, given that they have the same start. The first athlete never goes any faster than, say, 0.90s per 10m whereas the second goes at least as fast as 0.87s per 10m. as the athletes decelerate towards the end of the race, it appears as if the athlete with the slower top speed is speeding up, when in reality he’s just not decelerating as much as the others. Carl Lewis is a classic example of this. at the end of races he was actually slowing down- like the rest, the difference was that he slowed less than the others.
the opposite is also true, if you hit tops speed earlier than the others, or your top speed is greater than the others, then you can still win even with the worst speed endurance. But the key is a mix of speed and good speed endurance. No one ever has been able to run 100m without slowing down, and until then, the race will always have a speed endurance component. Whether it negates an athlete’s acceleration or top speed is the question.
Do you have the 10m splits for Michael Johnson and Usain Bolt over 200m? I always thought that Michael ran mid-race splits faster than anyone over any distance. It just seemed that he held his top speed over a longer period than anyone.
mane prashant says
no asafa powell is not fast run like usain bolt becoz
usain is get full extention & when he start 100 meter &
also he is don’t focused on other compititors……….
mane prashant says
again usain his record break 100meter in 8 sec thats the challenge of the world
UW Students says
We are visual graphic students and this graph sucks.
Jimson Lee says
@UW Students, of course the graphic sucks.. I pride myself of being the Craigslist of Track and Field… I don’t even have a logo! No frills, it’s CONTENT that matters! (and what the stopwatch says, of course)
Hia I was just wondering. Over 10 and 20 meter sprits is this a good time 10m 1.48. And over 20m 2.62