Thursday, November 5, 2009


I ran or what some people also call jogging for over 10 years.  I was never a fast runner and in fact I used to joke that I brought up the rear.  I never finished last in the 5 or 10 km runs or half marathons or marathon but I was also never in the top one-third finishers.  I didn't mind my race results as I felt fit, I had decent form and I knew that I was built for endurance and not speed.  I felt sometimes like the Ever Ready bunny in the battery commercials.   I once read an interesting article in Scientific American that explained long and short muscle twitch and that great thoroughbred race horses had short muscle twitches.  I definitely have long muscle twitches.

I recently read an article in Science Daily (November 4, 2009) on recent research that suggests longer toes and unique ankle structures provide sprinters with the ability to accelerate faster and thereby run faster.  The researchers found that long toes give sprinters the advantage of having more contact with the ground for a bit longer that runners with shorter toes.   They also measured the distance between the tendon and center of the rotation of the ankle.  Ostriches, greyhounds and cheetahs have feet built for sprinting.  So I wonder if Usain Bolt, the world record holder sprinter, has long toes?   Other recent research has also found that shorter toes provide for better endurance running. This supports what some coaches see - sprinters are born and are not made.  I tend to agree with this.  You see people who have natural athletic ability and while they still need training and development, they definitely have a talent.  I don't know if I have long or short toes but I am guessing I have short toes, I am not a sprinter and I am built for endurance.   For many years I had a great training partner, she loved to run with me and kept me company.   I knew where every bathroom was on the trails as she would need to get some water on warmer mornings.   Of course being a border collie, she wasn't allowed to run on the actually race days.   She actually deserved to get a race medal for the practice runs she did with me.  Amen...

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