The curious trick that could help you run faster

This weekend there has been a historical event in the world of sports. Eliud Kipchoge has become the first human being to run the distance of a marathon In less than two hours. Exciting and incredible despite the fact that conditions cannot standardize the epic mark of 1: 59: 40.2. If you want to increase time and speed when you go out to to run -although being honest, it will never bring you closer to the Kenyan- you can follow a simple trick.

An elastic resistance band that joins your feet provides additional rebound in the external tendon and saves energy in the long term, according to a new study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology. It is a simple invention, designed and tested by mechanical engineer Elliot Hawkes, who could reduce the energy required to run by 6.4%. "It's amazing. It makes you feel light and fast," says Hawkes.

The system designer has not been the only one to try it: a total of 19 participants tested the invention. But it was not easy at first, the runners needed some time to feel comfortable with the tape that attached their shoes before starting a series of tests.

The swinging of the legs is key

In addition to no one stumbling during the tests, the researchers showed that the energy they burned significantly decreased, and it did so due to a complex leg balancing mechanism. "A runner, with a normal pace of 2.7 meters per second, could get to get a 6% improvement, which theoretically leads to a decrease in the time to finish the race, "the report said.

When you go out to run, 8% of the calories you burn are used to balance our legs and maintain a constant forward speed. The rest are simply used to support and balance our body weight. So far, most of the tricks have focused on reducing this energy expenditure by redirecting the center of mass. However, the new device is among the few that focuses specifically on swinging legs.

It is an elastic band that joins the runner's feet reducing the energy required to move the legs by 6.4%

This kind of foreign tendon (which the designer calls exotendon) not only reduced the mechanical work necessary to balance both legs, as tendons tend to do, but also helped redirect the center of mass, which meant a overall efficiency much higher than expected. "We demonstrate that this species of exotendon increases the optimal stride frequency for energy," the study notes.

"With this new stride frequency be reduce mechanical work of redirecting the center of mass during posture: shorter steps result in a reduction of the biological moments and powers of the joints, "the report notes.

Likewise, the document indicates that "if shorter and faster steps were taken, the energy required to bounce would be reduced, but it would take much more to balance the legs so quickly, so it would not do so naturally. However, the band eliminates this energy cost for the leg, which means you can take 100 steps per minute, reducing the energy needed for rebound".

It does not help at all speeds

It is important to keep in mind that this study only performed tests at a relatively slow execution speed, so it is not clear if this band would help in all cases. But it certainly implies that the average runner can run faster and further with the device.

Best of all, this device is from Low technology and easy to do at home with affordable materials. In the study, the exotendons created by Hawkes were made of natural latex rubber surgical tubes, with a bow and a carabiner at each end for shoes. Although you can also try to do with elastic bands that sell in sports stores.

The length of this tube, the authors explain, must be about a quarter of the length of the runner's leg, measured from the hip to the ankle.