Mathematical Model Helps Runners Achieve Peak Performance

French researchers have developed an equation that, after accounting for specific variables, can inform runners and coaches of the optimal strategy for winning a race.

Imagine if understanding how best to do your job was as easy as inputting a few numbers into an equation that would then spit out results detailing your ideal strategy. A pair of French researchers have developed such an equation for runners and are hoping to apply their model in software designed for athletes and coaches.


One of the researchers is Amandine Aftalion, who has an interesting piece up at the Huffington Post right now about the mathematics of athletic optimization. Aftalion, who is a research director for the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), explains that modeling running in the form of equations can predict the optimal strategy needed to run a race in the shortest amount of time.

Aftalion's model was first introduced in a paper she co-authored last year. She explains how it works in the Huffington Post piece:

"Our model takes into account physiological parameters such as maximal oxygen uptake and total available anaerobic energy and involves several differential equations coupling the unknown variables of the runner: velocity, propulsion force, and anaerobic energy, which the body uses when in oxygen deficit. The equations rely on two basic principles of physics: energy is preserved, and acceleration (or velocity variations) is equal to the sum of all the forces. This second principle is also called the fundamental principle of dynamics."

Aftalion is now on the lookout for software developers to help her take the next step with the equation. (In fact, the final paragraph of her HuffPost piece is a fairly bold-faced sales pitch.) She stresses that her model could prove to be incredibly valuable to distance runners and coaches. Plus, with a little extra support, she could even adapt it to work for cyclists, rowers, and other competitors in endurance sports. No doubt, if the match checks out, there's going to be high demand for her work.

Read more at The Huffington Post

Photo credit: Warren Goldswain / Shutterstock

Amazon chooses New York and Virginia for its HQ2

The new offices will be built in New York's Long Island City and Viriginia's Arlington.

(Photo: INA FASSBENDER/AFP/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Amazon will receive more than $2 billion in incentives from the two states.
  • The company plans to create a total of 50,000 jobs at an average wage of $150,000.
  • The announcement has caused controversy, raising concerns about rising rent prices and potentially lost resources in communities surrounding the upcoming developments.
Keep reading Show less

This 5-minute neck scan can spot dementia 10 years before it emerges

The results come from a 15-year study that used ultrasound scans to track blood vessels in middle-aged adults starting in 2002.

Mikhail Kalinin via Wikipedia
Mind & Brain
  • The study measured the stiffness of blood vessels in middle-aged patients over time.
  • Stiff blood vessels can lead to the destruction of delicate blood vessels in the brain, which can contribute to cognitive decline.
  • The scans could someday become a widely used tool to identify people at high risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer's.
Keep reading Show less

Archaeologists unearth dozens of mummified cats in Egypt

Dozens of mummified cats were dug up this week. This isn't as shocking as you might think.

KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images
Culture & Religion
  • Archaeologists in Egypt have found dozens of mummified cats in the tomb of a royal offical.
  • The cats will join the ranks of hundreds of thousands of previously discovered ancient kitties.
  • While the cats are nothing special, the tomb also held well preserved beetles.
Keep reading Show less