The technology of manufacturing super running shoes and a special context because Covid-19 has contributed to helping many runners to achieve the miracle in the past year or so.
The track and field event in Valencia, Spain in December 2020 saw the four-legged run to break the world record at a half marathon (21.0975 km). On February 9, Ethiopian runner Gudaf Tsegay set a new world record by racing 1,500m indoors in Liévin, France with a record of 3 minutes 53.09 seconds.
In the marathon, Sara Hall, Keira D’Amato, Martin Hehir, Noah Droddy … all re-order in the top 10 best American athletes.
On the track in the stadium, Donavan Brazier, Bryce Hoppel, Elle Purrier or Grant Holloway all have world or American records.
Amateurs, from high schools, universities … are not out of the general momentum of achievement. Hobbs Kessler holds the high school age group one mile (1.6km) record with 3 minutes 57.66 seconds. Cooper Teare, from the University of Oregon, hit 3 minutes 50.39 seconds – just two seconds behind the College age group record of a mile. Athing Mu from the Texas A&M team became a world-class 400m runner and brought her team to the final record, 4x400m content.
What’s happening to the world of athletics? Why has the athletes’ achievements been so dramatically improved recently? According to Runners’ World, there are three reasons for this phenomenon.
Running shoe technology
In 2017, when he first tried to cross the full marathon (42,195km) with a sub2 record (under two hours) in Monza, Italy, Eliud Kipchoge wore Nike’s newest shoe, the Zoom Vaporfly Elite. These shoes are advertised to save 4% of energy consumption, thanks to the research and application of a new type of foam, lighter and more sensitive than previous models. A hard carbon fiber plate stabilizes the foam and supports the foot as it is pushed off the ground. An unusual, lightweight, soft sole will restore energy, not absorb, reducing athlete’s fatigue.
In 2018, Kipchoge went to Vaporfly 4% when he broke the world record for full marathon in Berlin, surpassing Kimetto’s performance. That was the biggest leap in half a century. In 2019, the 4% Vaporfly helped 36 of the 42 athletes to podium in the planet’s seven largest marathon tournament – World Marathon Majors. 12 of them ranked first in the male and female categories. At the Chicago Marathon, Kenyan athlete Brigid Kosgei broke the women’s world record with 2 hours 14 minutes 4 seconds.
Nike’s design has been around since 2017 and delivers breakthroughs in technology. Other brands like Saucony or Adidas also follow suit and emulate different degrees of success. Geoff Burns, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan studying biomechanics and athletic performance, says the same technology – better foam, with a hard pad inside – offers some Significant change in performance.
Burns claims the gap between Nike and competitors is narrowing, but hesitates when asked if they have caught up with Nike. Dr. praised the long shoes of Adidas, Saucony, the spiked shoes from Adidas, New Balance. “But if I’m on the starting line, getting ready for the marathon or the track in the stadium, I’ll wear Nike shoes.”
The races are prepared in ideal conditions
From the impact of the pandemic, the traditional racetracks with tens of thousands of participants have disappeared. Instead, the organizers focus on the safety of the event. Professional athletes, who need to rub, race … are facilitated by a dedicated track, with precise specifications.
On February 20, the “The Ten” race took place in San Juan Capistrano, California. On the 10,000m track, 10 athletes – mostly from the Bowerman Track club in Portland, Oregon – compete to reach Olympic standards, with a tipping point of achievement: 27 minutes 28 seconds for men and 31 minutes 25 seconds for girl.
In the women’s category that day, Vanessa Fraser and Courtney Frerichs maintained their perfect speed, running each lap with the threshold of 74 seconds. Vanessa Fraser led the first 3km, Courtney Frerichs followed closely and accelerated the next 6km – 16 out of 25 laps in the race. In the end, Elise Cranny finished first at 30 minutes 47 seconds and had five Olympic qualifiers – four from Bowerman, and the other Eilish McColgan from England.
The male category is similar. Evan Jager and Sean McGorty stick closely. Marc Scott won with 27 minutes and 10 seconds and had five Olympic qualifiers.
Marielle Hall, Bowerman’s fifth in the race with 31 minutes 21 seconds, said: “We are very fortunate to have our teammates lead in the 6 to 7km range. That doesn’t happen very often. lucky”.
“Marathon Project” held in Chandler, Arizona on December 20, 2020 also has many similarities. Organizers opted for a perfectly level U-shaped runway. The runner races on one side of the track more than 3km long and turns back to the other side. The speed guides for top male and female athletes maintain a steady speed of nearly 30km.
In the end, Martin Hehir finished at 2 hours 8 minutes 59 seconds. Sara Hall runs a full marathon in 2 hours 20 minutes 32 seconds. This achievement put Hehir eighth in the list of America’s fastest marathon runners. Sara Hall is second in the women’s category.
The athletes are carefully trained
If it weren’t for Covid-19, the athletes would be swept up in regular races. They have to compete in both cross country, indoor and outdoor racing. Each week, they move across the country in pursuit of top-notch races.
But in 2020, all indoor races will be canceled. Outdoor tournament cannot take place. The cross-country track also repeatedly delayed the competition date. This is unintentionally for many professional runners to last long and without interrupting the workout time. Like the battle chickens, they are trained more and more and eagerly to show off the results of the training.
When several leagues are resumed, it is at the same time that the athletes need good results for the Tokyo Olympics. The need for repressed and the desire to race is also a reason why athletes compete more determined.
In a sense, short run runners must practice with the same time as long distance racers. Marielle Hall says good training and limited races because of the pandemic have become a great test. The Bowerman club manager Jerry Schumacher – is giving more and more difficult exercises. The split times in the interval exercises are getting faster and faster. They have to do more loops.
“The requirements are constantly increasing, changing to suit the new fitness level of each person. The more athletes need to put in more effort,” concluded Marielle Hall.
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