Where Your Dreams Become Reality
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Poster: Sasha Pachev
Subject: Informal Study of the Role of Flexibility in Distance Running
I have been wondering about the role of flexibility in distance running, but as far as I know there are no good studies on it. There is some evidence that suggests that good runners are less flexible than not so good ones, but it really does not say much. I've given the matter some thought and decided that a good step towards understanding the role of flexibility will be to look at a large enough sample of guys that run 800 under 2:00 and 5000 under 15:00 and have them do some simple range of motion tests. My reasoning - 800 meter speed can be achieved with power to a great extent, and 5000 meter speed through aerobic capacity to a great extent as well. So you need to set the bar high enough so that raw power or raw aerobic capacity without some extra support from somewhere else in most cases will not be good enough. Thus the above performance cut offs. So I want to get a feel as to what extent that something extra is in the flexibility in the particular ranges of motion if it is there at all. I am not a professional researcher and do not have either the time or the resources to conduct a formal study. But I still would like to do something, and this is the best I can do.
I would appreciate responses from everyone, but particularly from those who are currently capable of running 800 under 2:00 and 5000 under 15:00. Please answer the following questions:
1. Your life-time PRs, and your estimated (or better actual) fitness level at this time in distances 800 through the marathon as applicable.
2. Sit on the floor with your legs straight. Keeping your legs straight, can you reach your toes with your hands? If not, how close did you get?
3. Sit on the floor. Bring your feet together about half of the leg length towards your point of support. Hold your feet together with your knees bent and spread your legs sideways as far as they can go. Can your knees touch the floor? If not, how close did you get?
4. Sit on the floor leaning against a wall. Take your foot with your hands and try to bring it behind your head. Can you touch the back of your head with your heel? If not, how far did it go?
5. Stand up with legs at shoulder width. Keep your legs straight and try to touch your knees with your forehead. If you cannot, how close did you get?
If you have other suggestions for the important ranges of motion tests, feel free to share.
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