The distance - time relationship over a century of running Olympic performances: a limit on the critical speed concept

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Abstract

We analyse the evolution of the slope (critical speed) and the y-intercept (anaerobic distance capacity) of the linear distance-time relationship over a century of Olympic running performances. The distance-time relationship of each Olympic Games (1920-2004) was plotted using the performances in the 800-, 1500- and 5000-m track events. Values for critical speed and anaerobic distance capacity were determined by linear modelling. Mean performances for the 800, 1500 and 5000 m were 104.9 +/- 1.5 s (1.4%), 217.2 +/- 2.8 s (1.3%) and 808.9 +/- 18.4 s (2.3%), respectively. Critical speed improved during the first three-quarters of the twentieth century to reach a plateau in 1984. This is in accordance with the literature (Peronnet & Thibault, 1989) and suggests that "human aerobic endurance" has improved within the century (+13.4%) and tends to stabilize. Anaerobic distance capacity was highly variable over the century (coefficient of variation = 9.4%) and did not show a linear improvement over the years as has previously been suggested (Peronnet & Thibault, 1989). This could be due to an artefact in the application of the two-parameter model to only three Olympic performances. A limitation to the use of this linear mathematical model to fit physiological data may have been demonstrated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1213-1221
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Volume24
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2006

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Olympic Games
twentieth century
artifact
plateau
modeling
speed

Keywords

  • d-t relationship
  • Olympic performances
  • critical speed concept
  • sport adn exercise science

Cite this

@article{534952feabc845c6bdb47aff88c143d6,
title = "The distance - time relationship over a century of running Olympic performances: a limit on the critical speed concept",
abstract = "We analyse the evolution of the slope (critical speed) and the y-intercept (anaerobic distance capacity) of the linear distance-time relationship over a century of Olympic running performances. The distance-time relationship of each Olympic Games (1920-2004) was plotted using the performances in the 800-, 1500- and 5000-m track events. Values for critical speed and anaerobic distance capacity were determined by linear modelling. Mean performances for the 800, 1500 and 5000 m were 104.9 +/- 1.5 s (1.4{\%}), 217.2 +/- 2.8 s (1.3{\%}) and 808.9 +/- 18.4 s (2.3{\%}), respectively. Critical speed improved during the first three-quarters of the twentieth century to reach a plateau in 1984. This is in accordance with the literature (Peronnet & Thibault, 1989) and suggests that {"}human aerobic endurance{"} has improved within the century (+13.4{\%}) and tends to stabilize. Anaerobic distance capacity was highly variable over the century (coefficient of variation = 9.4{\%}) and did not show a linear improvement over the years as has previously been suggested (Peronnet & Thibault, 1989). This could be due to an artefact in the application of the two-parameter model to only three Olympic performances. A limitation to the use of this linear mathematical model to fit physiological data may have been demonstrated.",
keywords = "d-t relationship, Olympic performances, critical speed concept, sport adn exercise science",
author = "Jeanne Dekerle and X. Nesi and Helen Carter",
year = "2006",
month = "11",
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language = "English",
volume = "24",
pages = "1213--1221",
journal = "Journal of Sports Sciences",
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TY - JOUR

T1 - The distance - time relationship over a century of running Olympic performances: a limit on the critical speed concept

AU - Dekerle, Jeanne

AU - Nesi, X.

AU - Carter, Helen

PY - 2006/11/30

Y1 - 2006/11/30

N2 - We analyse the evolution of the slope (critical speed) and the y-intercept (anaerobic distance capacity) of the linear distance-time relationship over a century of Olympic running performances. The distance-time relationship of each Olympic Games (1920-2004) was plotted using the performances in the 800-, 1500- and 5000-m track events. Values for critical speed and anaerobic distance capacity were determined by linear modelling. Mean performances for the 800, 1500 and 5000 m were 104.9 +/- 1.5 s (1.4%), 217.2 +/- 2.8 s (1.3%) and 808.9 +/- 18.4 s (2.3%), respectively. Critical speed improved during the first three-quarters of the twentieth century to reach a plateau in 1984. This is in accordance with the literature (Peronnet & Thibault, 1989) and suggests that "human aerobic endurance" has improved within the century (+13.4%) and tends to stabilize. Anaerobic distance capacity was highly variable over the century (coefficient of variation = 9.4%) and did not show a linear improvement over the years as has previously been suggested (Peronnet & Thibault, 1989). This could be due to an artefact in the application of the two-parameter model to only three Olympic performances. A limitation to the use of this linear mathematical model to fit physiological data may have been demonstrated.

AB - We analyse the evolution of the slope (critical speed) and the y-intercept (anaerobic distance capacity) of the linear distance-time relationship over a century of Olympic running performances. The distance-time relationship of each Olympic Games (1920-2004) was plotted using the performances in the 800-, 1500- and 5000-m track events. Values for critical speed and anaerobic distance capacity were determined by linear modelling. Mean performances for the 800, 1500 and 5000 m were 104.9 +/- 1.5 s (1.4%), 217.2 +/- 2.8 s (1.3%) and 808.9 +/- 18.4 s (2.3%), respectively. Critical speed improved during the first three-quarters of the twentieth century to reach a plateau in 1984. This is in accordance with the literature (Peronnet & Thibault, 1989) and suggests that "human aerobic endurance" has improved within the century (+13.4%) and tends to stabilize. Anaerobic distance capacity was highly variable over the century (coefficient of variation = 9.4%) and did not show a linear improvement over the years as has previously been suggested (Peronnet & Thibault, 1989). This could be due to an artefact in the application of the two-parameter model to only three Olympic performances. A limitation to the use of this linear mathematical model to fit physiological data may have been demonstrated.

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KW - Olympic performances

KW - critical speed concept

KW - sport adn exercise science

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JO - Journal of Sports Sciences

JF - Journal of Sports Sciences

SN - 0264-0414

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