Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Science of Sport - NYC Marathon

Did you know Dos Santos dropped a 14:24 5k towards the end of the NYC marathon? Yup, 4:38 pace. Or Paula Radcliffe's fastest 5k was her last, closing in a 16:27? Yikes. So in an attempt to fill my data needs, below is a plot of the time for 5km intervals for the 2008 New York City Marathon.

Paula Radcliffe sandwiched between Dos Santos and me. Dos Santos and I ran similar races for the first 20k, then the lead pack decided to crush Queesboro Bridge (uphill). Amazing they got faster then, but can see that last 5k was tough for all the lead guys, as Dos Santos came back from behind but slowed up even though the second to last 5k is more challenging than the last 5k.

But I think Radcliffe's race was more impressive - besides Queesboro Bridge (25k) and 5th Ave (35k mark), she got faster and faster and faster as the race went on.

Conclusion - If you want to run well at NYC, you need to negative split. Radcliffe went 1:13/1:10, Dos Santos 1:06/1:02. Dos Santos was able to hold on after crushing the 15th mile, but I think he's the exception - the Queesboro Bridge will make or break your NYC experience.

For the rest of the analysis, click here


Matias said...

And at the start it feels like the Berlin marathon... over 11,000+ finishers from England, Italy, France, & Germany.

The U.S. is sooo much cooler than the Euros

...140 Chilenos

ZB said...

Hey congrats to Matias for the stellar NYC time. It's all the more impressive when you consider the fact that he can kick butt in swimming and biking.

-Zach B.

Melissa said...

Congratulations and thanks for sharing, Matias.

Radcliffe ran an amazing race. For my next marathon I'm going to be militant about sticking to the pace plan.

MAX said...

I agree about the science part but then there is just flat out talent. Paula Ratcliffe is the best female distance runner in the world and runs every race like its her last. She tried to run the same way at the Olympics and fizzled out. For NY she was in shape and thus, simply killed everyone from the begining.

Dos Santos held on and had some leg speed at the end. Maybe the leg speed and power came from drinking his water/gatorade(whatever those guys drink.) According the Gourmi, he forgot to take his drinks along the way and was so stiff at mile 26, he could not respond when Dos Santos made his move. Simple as that.

I think at the top levels of the sport it comes down to who "has it that day". Most of those guys are so good that someone who is just slightly more on can claim the victory.

I think some of it is planned strategy but to the top runners, if they are feeling it, they go. Sometimes it works and sometimes no. Such is life.

RM said...

Really what it comes down to is that Matias ran like a pimp. And also happy birthday, which is today.

ZB said...

Agreed. Max your argument is called the straw man fallacy. It fits within Matias' framework. Anybody down for a run on Sunday?