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Human Energy, Work Done and Declining results

  1. Jun 11, 2015 #1

    I am having trouble locating resources for a topic as I do not know exactly what it is called, and I am looking for assistance.

    If you wanted to look at human performance and calculate the various ways a human could perform a task and how this would affect outcome by including "work done" energy consumed and used is there a known formula or calculation for this?

    As an example if I had a runner and he/she ran in a 5km race if they ran at an increased rate for the first kilometer measured by speed and heart rate, how would I be able to predict their speed over the last kilometer if they reduced their speed for the middle 3 kilometers?

    I assume there is an optimization formula that would exist but searching "maths physics work done" yields one good result that leads me to think I may be searching the wrong thing http://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/energy/Lesson-1/Definition-and-Mathematics-of-Work . It doesn't seem to relate to human achievement or potential energy as an athlete but rather using my size and motion direction to calculate work.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 12, 2015 #2


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    There are no simple laws of physics that allow you to determine how fast you can run the last km in your example. This is mostly to do with human physiology and training. For example a trained sprinter might run the last km faster than a trained marathon runner just because their muscles are different.

    You need to talk to a sports scientist. As I understand it sports scientists estimate work done by measuring oxygen consumption. I believe they can tell how fast you should run so you don't build up an energy deficit (eg that might affect your speed over the final km.)

    Example: http://www.livescience.com/5359-perfect-running-pace-revealed.html
  4. Jun 12, 2015 #3
    I guess if I could get enough data of people running at set distances at various speeds/intervals you could derive an expectation of decline or increase in speed of those who ran quick early vs mid vs late and see if there a common thread.

    Interestingly about the 8.3 mph optimum speed in the article you linked it doesn't delve into whether that pace allows recuperation to occur.

    Edit seems the field I am looking for is Biomechanics http://www.bases.org.uk/biomechanics
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