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.