How can runners improve their performance, weight and fitness? Amandine Aftalion from the Mathematics Laboratory in Versailles (CNRS/University of Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines) and Frédéric Bonnans from the Center of Applied Mathematics (CNRS/Inria/École polytechnique) have produced a mathematical model to optimize running, which could lead to personal e-coaching customized to each individual’s physiological state. It also confirms a well-known fact in the sports community: runners who vary their speed spend their energy better and thus run longer. Mathematics gives them the opportunity to switch from simple statistical tools to personalized sporting advice.
The applications of this model target two categories of individuals. In the case of “semi-professionals” runners who do not have the opportunity to work with a coach or for physical training purposes in schools, researchers hope to develop a software that could act as a personal e-coach by indicating which physiological parameters need improving and by implementing racing strategies based on instantaneous velocity. On the other hand, the system of equations, which can be adapted to all variables of interest to athletes (and not just speed), could enable occasional runners to find out the exact number of calories lost during a race (and not a simple average as with today’s available tools) in order to improve weight loss.
Source: CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange). “Mathematics to improve running.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 May 2014.