Mathematical Model Enhances Performance Optimization for Elite Athletes, Developed by Scientists

Tue Mar 05 2024
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PARIS: A study published Tuesday reveals that scientists have devised a mathematical model aimed at optimizing training regimens for athletes competing in 400-meter and 1,500-meter athletics events. Drawing upon performance data collected from top-tier athletes like Olympic 1,500 meters champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway, Dutch world indoor 400-meter record holder Femke Bol, and Britain’s Matthew Hudson-Smith at the 2022 European Championships in Munich, the model delves into the intricate physiological dynamics underlying these races.

Co-author Amandine Aftalion, discussing the study published in the journal Frontiers in Sports and Active Living, expressed the team’s curiosity about the physiological nuances of sprinting in the 400 meters and the endurance demands of the 1,500 meters. Utilizing cutting-edge GPS sensor technology discreetly positioned beneath athletes’ jerseys, researchers meticulously tracked the athletes’ speeds, capturing their positions ten times per second.

By integrating equations encompassing various physiological variables such as energy expenditure, maximum oxygen consumption (VO2), running economy, and motor control—encompassing the brain’s role in movement processes like motivation—the team gained insights into the intricate interplay of factors influencing elite performance.

Subsequently, scientists from the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) scrutinized the data, discerning its impact on the champions’ velocities. The CNRS hailed the model for its ability to swiftly furnish the optimal strategy, enabling runners to perform at their peak.

The study elucidated the critical significance of a swift start in the initial 50 meters, attributed to oxygen consumption kinetics, as well as the importance of minimizing deceleration toward the end of a 400-meter dash. Simulations notably elucidated Ingebrigtsen’s performance, highlighting his rapid attainment and sustained maintenance of maximum oxygen consumption throughout the race.

Aftalion underscored Ingebrigtsen’s unique ability to maintain a formidable pace despite a seemingly subdued start, attributing his success to his physiological profile.

Proposed as a tool for coaches, the model could inform tailored racing strategies aligned with individual physiological profiles, thus potentially revolutionizing athletic performance optimization.



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