NOTE: Some of my older guest posts on other Websites are now being shut down due to the economic climate. Thus I will present them here.
How much do the tight indoor curves affect your performance?
Even with the banked curves to counteract the centripetal forces, it does affect your stride length and stride frequency, and therefore your time will be slower.
Also, with banked curves, you have a slight uphill grade going into the curve, then a favourable downhill grade coming off the turn. Lane 6 for the 200m or 300m starts halfway on the curve, so you literally start the race downhill.
You can read more about the fairness of Lane draws for indoor 200-400 meters in my past article.
Comparing Apples to Oranges
You also race less indoors than outdoors, so the sample size is different. The CIS Canadian College system does not have an Outdoor season or championship.
More emphasis is on outdoors, of course. So this isn’t an apple to orange comparison, but perhaps a Fuji Apple to a Gala Apple. Still apples, but…
But by how much?
Below is a sample snapshot. I could add more events, like the 300 meters or even the 4x200m or 4x400m relay.
The men’s 300m is controversial because Michael Johnson’s outdoor 300m WR was set at slight altitude, and Wallace Spearmon’s indoor 300m WR used a 3 turn stagger instead of the IAAF 2 turn stagger. Thus, LaShawn Merritt’s 300 meter 31.30 at last week’s Prefontaine meet should be considered the official sea-level WR.
One thing to note is the Women’s world records. Some of the women’s performances were from Eastern Bloc athletes who didn’t focus on indoors. Again, a bad sample size pool.
So when it comes time to get a ballpark figure for your Youth or Junior Development athletes, I would be generous and guestimate 3% for the sprints, and 2% for the middle distance and distance events?.
I don’t coach Youth athletes, so I don’t have a number for extrapolating performances.
Comments or feedback?
Jeff Melvin says
I found your site just recently and it is great! I have only skimmed but don’t see anything about how the runners body readies for a bend or a curve. I know this is not the focus of your article but THAT is what I am interested in.
Specifically, I am designing a triathlon training center for an abandoned architecture school project. I want the running track to replicate what a marathoner might find on a public marathon course. This includes straightaways and curves. However, I want to know what the tightest curve a runner can encounter without breaking stride too much. The reason is the constraint of the urban in-fill site we were given to work with.
How would I measure this? If a runner’s full stride is X, than at YCurve, X must decrease by Z? Any ideas or resources where someone has done this already?
Jimson Lee says
@Jeff, good question!
I am not aware of any resource or study that covers this for roads. Coupled with rain, then it gets more complicated. With track, you don;t worry about slipping (usually).