In a fit of apparent egomania, RW's Kerry claimed he could outrun Usain Bolt over 10K. But is it as absurd as it sounds?
Gone in 60 seconds? Gone in 10 more like. Even running at a steady pace and not flat-out, Bolt has immediately used his experience of quick starts to open up a sizeable gap.
Part of the reason for this is his sprinter’s footstrike: ‘In order to generate a more powerful forward momentum, sprinters hit the ground more heavily with each stride than distance runners,’ says Lydia Meddings, a sports scientist who runs London’s Asics Running Lab.
‘While the average runner experiences two and a half times their body weight in impact forces with each step, for sprinters it’s around five times. This propels them forward quicker, but to be able to take such force, it’s important to develop strong lower limbs.’
The aim: Toughen up your lower legs
‘Single leg squats are the golden ticket here,’ says personal trainer Sarah O’Neill (sarahoneill.co.uk). ‘It’s an easy exercise with multiple benefits, strengthening your calves, knee-supporting muscles, glutes, and the stabilising ankle muscles and tendons.’
•Stand on your right leg with your left leg bent so the toes are just off the floor.
•Keeping the knee aligned above the middle toe of your standing foot, slowly squat, putting your weight into your heel and your back straight, until your thigh is at 90 degrees to the floor.
•Return to the standing position and repeat. Do 3x20 reps on each leg a couple of times a week.‘If you find them too difficult at first, gently rest the tip-toes of your hanging foot on the floor for balance,’ says O’Neill. ‘Once you’ve mastered them you can make it more challenging for yourself by pushing backwards with your hanging foot on each rep, like a slow motion donkey kick. This action requires more control and balance.’