Anal­y­sis of Mo Farah’s World Cham­pi­onships 10,000m


Athletics Weekly - - News -

MO FARAH’S 10th con­sec­u­tive global ti­tle in the Lon­don 2017 10,000m didn’t come easy as he was pushed by a strong East African con­tin­gent. Uganda’s Joshua Chep­tegei stretched Farah to the line with his time of

26:49.94 with Kenyan Olympic sil­ver medal­list Paul Tanui third in 26:50.60.

Farah’s vic­tory was mar­ginal, but what biome­chan­i­cal fac­tors led to it? Dr Athanas­sios Bis­sas, head of biome­chan­ics at the Carnegie School of Sport at Leeds Beck­ett Univer­sity, and his team of 40 sci­en­tists were com­mis­sioned by the

IAAF to study ev­ery sci­en­tific pa­ram­e­ter of the race to dis­cover what, in biome­chan­i­cal terms, set Farah apart.

The set-up

Ten dig­i­tal video cam­eras were placed in the stands around the sta­dium to record data for 3D mo­tion anal­y­sis. The cam­eras recorded at be­tween 50 and 250 frames per sec­ond and the ath­letes were then recorded on each lap and an­a­lysed dur­ing laps 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25.

How Farah’s race un­folded: What struck the Leeds

Beck­ett team was how Farah main­tained a con­sis­tent pace be­tween 3000m and 6000m, in con­trast to the runs of Chep­tegei, Tanui, Muchiri,

Yimer and Kam­woror. Bis­sas and his team sug­gested it rep­re­sented a con­sid­er­able en­ergy sav­ing by Farah and con­trib­uted to his abil­ity to ac­cel­er­ate over the fi­nal four laps of the race. On lap 22, the team noted how Farah “tac­ti­cally pre­pared for over­tak­ing ri­vals with a lap of en­ergy con­ser­va­tion” in which he ran con­sid­er­ably slower than the other lead­ing ath­letes. At the 9200m point, Farah moved through the field at a pace of 23.91km/h to take the lead.

Stride anal­y­sis:

Farah had the long­est step length of the top six fin­ish­ers through­out the race with a max­i­mum stride range of over 2.25m reached on the last lap. Chep­tegei al­most matched him over the fi­nal 400m, but his stride length was be­low two me­tres be­tween laps 10 and 15. Of the top fin­ish­ers, Muchiri’s stride was short­est, dip­ping to 1.75m on lap 15 af­ter a peak of close to 1.95m on lap 10. Us­ing 3D mo­tion anal­y­sis along­side the step length cal­cu­la­tions,

Bis­sas was able to show that each of the ath­letes tended to vary their pace by al­ter­ing their stride length.

Both Farah and Chep­tegei recorded sym­met­ri­cal val­ues of propul­sion and brak­ing in their stride pat­tern whereas the other ath­letes did not.

Sprint fin­ish:

Hav­ing over­taken Tanui at the start of the home straight, Chep­tegei was mov­ing faster than Farah with 50m to go. How­ever, de­tailed anal­y­sis from 9950m showed Farah to be mov­ing at 27.11km/h com­pared with the 27.58km/h recorded by Chep­tegei. It en­abled Farah to hold on to a 0.43-sec­ond vic­tory over Chep­tegei. “Farah’s tac­tics and ex­pe­ri­ence meant he re­tained the ti­tle through op­ti­mis­ing his phys­i­cal abil­i­ties,” the re­search team re­ported.

SPRINT FIN­ISH DATA AT 9950m What it means for coaches

De­spite be­ing an ar­du­ous en­durance event, the lead­ing ath­letes ex­hib­ited run­ning speeds in ex­cess of 25km/h in the fi­nal 100m and, based on the data col­lected, it ap­pears that step or stride length was the de­ter­min­ing fac­tor in achiev­ing the medal-win­ning times. Tak­ing into ac­count that step time re­duced in the fi­nal stages, it be­comes ap­par­ent that suf­fi­cient im­pulse was achieved through the pro­duc­tion of large forces at a fast rate. “Tra­di­tion­ally, en­durance train­ing has fo­cused on phys­i­o­log­i­cal de­vel­op­ment,” the Leeds Beck­ett team con­cluded. “How­ever, at­ten­tion should also be paid to the de­vel­op­ment of neu­ro­mus­cu­lar char­ac­ter­is­tics in the phys­i­cal prepa­ra­tion of the elite dis­tance ath­lete.”

The split data for each 100m were pro­vided by Seiko. The men’s 10,000m pre­lim­i­nary re­port was jointly com­piled by the fol­low­ing mem­bers of the biome­chan­ics team from the Carnegie School of Sport at Leeds Beck­ett Univer­sity in­clud­ing Dr Brian Han­ley, Dr Catherine Tucker, Aaron Thomas, Josh Walker and Dr Athanas­sios Bis­sas. Full re­sults of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion will be pub­lished by the

IAAF in com­ing months


Mo Farah: a com­bi­na­tion of stride rate and length was shown to be a sig­nif­i­cant fac­tor in his 10,000m win at Lon­don 2017

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