Why You Run Faster Outdoors

It’s a fact that, compared to their performance on the typical indoor 200 meter track, runners competing in the 200 meter event tend to put up quicker times on outdoor 400 meter tracks. A study published in theJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research looks into the mechanisms at work in this seconds-shaving phenomenon.

Scientists analyzed split times achieved by 17 men and 16 women at national level track and field competition over a 5-year period. The first 50 meters took longer to run indoors compared to outdoors, and both men and women took longer to run the second 50 meter straight indoors as opposed to outdoors. Because the tighter curves decreased their ability to develop speed, athletes of both genders were about 3% slower indoors.

True Strength Moment: For every physical challenge, there’s likely to be a training adaptation that helps minimize risk while maximizing performance. What that involves for this scenario has yet to be determined, but odds are someone somewhere on an indoor 200 meter track is working on it right now.

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