18th July 2007 - 11:04 PM
I'm hoping some of you smart people can help me with a question I have about the physics of drafting (slip-streaming) during middle-distance track races. A world-class pace in the Mile Run is 3:50 or faster. That's ~15.652 miles per hour. Does drafting during races run at this speed make any difference at all in regards to energy expenditure? If so, approximately what % of energy reduction can a runner who drafts hope to gain over the runner who runs from the front? In other words, if two runners of completely-equal ability (equal endurance, same top-end speed, same tactical abilities, similar psychological make-up, same shoes, same clothing, etc.) raced in a Mile Run, and one runner drafted behind the other for most of the race, would the person who drafts win every time? Or is this pace too slow to make much of a difference, other than perhaps to gain a psychological advantage? Thanks.
18th July 2007 - 11:15 PM
Oops! I somehow need to relate this to Physics News. Alan Webb is going to attempt to break a 25-year-old American record for the Mile Run this Saturday. To do it, he will need to have ideal race conditions and pace. He will have 2-3 rabbits off of whom he will be drafting for 3 of the 4 laps. Will the physics of drafting help him to set a new record?