It's widely speculated that the trunk should remain constantly still, in a permanent state of contraction throughout the running cycle. At first glance, it might appear this way when the bare torso of an international athlete is on display. It certainly looks as if their trunk barely moves.
AÂ recently published reportÂ from the website RunRepeat.com found that American road race results are slower than ever before. The report looked at more than 34 million U.S. road race results between 1996 and 2016, the largest analysis of its kind.Â The only ones not getting slower areÂ the top elite runners.
â€œAverage times are slowing because more and more races are emphasizing their social aspects,â€ says revered race statistician, Ken Young. â€œThey seek to attract recreational runners and walkers. Look at the race websites. You can find all sorts of social media links, party details and merchandise for sale, but itâ€™s hard to find the race results.â€Â
TheÂ RunRepeat researchers ultimately wanted to see if the trend in deteriorating American health is reflected in running race finish times. The analytics successfully disproved several frequently used arguments including presumptions that increased race popularity, age/gender demographics or the invasion of more walking enthusiasts were culpable for the massive backslide in performance.
The question remains, however; with the influx of more and more scientific training, wearable technology, modern lifestyles, and dietary habits, why exactly have average marathon times declined so drastically in this millennium?Â
It’s time to separate and clarify the elements of breakthrough marathon performance.