What is the Science of Running?
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By: Addey Olson


There are many concepts of science related to running. First, runners worry about their speed and how fast they run. For example, if someone can run five miles in 30 minutes, they know they are running 10 miles per hour. One thing runners like to work on is increasing their speed. They can do that by building up their endurance, strengthening their muscles, and accelerating faster. Acceleration is changing speed or direction. Runners need positive acceleration to surge to the finish line or to break away from the pack and win a race. For efficient acceleration, they make sure friction is in their favor by getting a high-quality pair of running shoes that provide good traction (friction). They also need to know what kind of terrain they will be running on. For example, cross country runners need a different kind of running shoe than people running on a track. Another thing a runner can change is their velocity. Velocity is their speed in a certain direction. If they are running 7mph in a straight line, speed and velocity are the same. But if your running around a track, you are changing your direction. So their speed stays the same but their velocity changes. Another concept in running is Newton’s third law of motion that states whenever one object exerts a force on a second object, the second object exerts an equal and opposite force on the first. This law explains why a runner is able to move forward; because of the equal and opposite force the ground exerts on the runner’s foot after each step. A runners leg works like a pendulum. Their foot is like the mass swinging at the bottom. The mass swings back and forth faster when the runners bend their knees. In that case, it’s very important to bend your knees to increase your speed. Runners also lean forward while running. That way the force of gravity is working to pull them forward. The unbalanced force causes them to move forward. So I hope this gives you a few examples of how important science is in running and many other sports.

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