Archive ouverte HAL – A Minimal Power Model for Human Running Performance

Matthew Mulligan 1 Guillaume Adam 2 Thorsten Emig 3, 4

PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2018

Models for human running performances of various complexities and underlying principles have been proposed, often combining data from world record performances and bio-energetic facts of human physiology. Here we present a novel, minimal and universal model for human running performance that employs a relative metabolic power scale. The main component is a self-consistency relation for the time dependent maximal power output. The analytic approach presented here is the first to derive the observed logarithmic scaling between world (and other) record running speeds and times from basic principles of metabolic power supply. Various female and male record performances (world, national) and also personal best performances of individual runners for distances from 800m to the marathon are excellently described by this model, with mean errors of (often much) less than 1%. The model defines endurance in a way that demonstrates symmetry between long and short racing events that are separated by a characteristic time scale comparable to the time over which a runner can sustain maximal oxygen uptake. As an application of our model, we derive personalized characteristic race speeds for different durations and distances.

  • 1. Claremont Mckenna College - CMC (USA)
  • 2. (MSC)2 UMI3466 CNRS-MIT - Multi-Scale Material Science for Energy and Environment
  • 3. MIT - Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • 4. LPTMS - Laboratoire de Physique Théorique et Modèles Statistiques