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    200 Meters and Speed Endurance: Number Crunching
    #1
    I'm looking at the splits from Bolt's 19.19 race on http://www.meathathletics.ie/devathlete ... prints.pdf.

    Very interesting stuff. My takeaway is that Bolt's speed endurance in that race was average for the field but, because his top speed was by far the highest of the group, no one gained on him in any part of the race. If you're faster than everyone else, you can afford to slow down more. Seems obvious enough.


    Speed Endurance

    The fastest split for every runner was between 50-100, of course. After 50-70, it's highly likely that deceleration began to set in for each one, but I don't see more detailed splits. So I've used everyone's 50-100 as their reference point of "top speed" in the race.

    From there, we can check the percentage of this "peak" each runner is hitting for each remaining 50 meter section.

    For 100-150 meters, the rankings for time compared to peak split:

    1) Spearmon (97.6%)
    2) Alerte (97.0%)
    3) Edward (96.9%)
    4) Clark (96.6%)
    5) Guliyev (95.8%)
    6) Bolt (95.5%)
    7) Mullings (95.1%)
    8) Crawford (95.0%)

    For 150-200 meters:

    1) Spearmon (94.5%)
    2) Edward (93.3%)
    3) Alerte (92.2%)
    4) Bolt (90.9%)
    5) Clark (90.7%)
    6) Guliyev (90.3%)
    7) Mullings (89.1%)
    8) Crawford (86.8%)

    The gap between 1 and 8 is striking, isn't it? Spearmon's still in the 94%, while Crawford is running essentially high-intensive tempo. Bolt is running at about 91% of what he was at his peak in the race - right in the middle. Clearly, if Bolt's speed endurance was at Crawford's level, he'd have run slower...but he'd still be in first by a huge margin. By my calculation, he'd be at 19.44 with a Crawford-type second half of the race. Conversely, if he had run with Spearmon's speed endurance, he'd have gone 18.92.

    The problem with Spearmon's speed endurance is that it's clearly a function of his energy distribution in the race. More than anyone else in the event, Spearmon visibly holds back some in his opening halves of 200 meter races and then "turns it on" in the second half, right?

    Aggressiveness:

    Yes and no. Spearmon was not last around the bend - he came through at 10.42, while Alerte lagged back at 10.60 - but he was the slowest relative to his open 100 meters speed. He also did not "turn it on" in the second half of the race; instead, he merely slowed less than everyone else (as detailed above).


    Here, I've compared/ranked all the runners' opening 100 here to their listed PRs in the open 100 meters run for a percentage of that top open 100 speed.

    1) Clark (100.2%)
    2) Crawford (97.3%)
    3) Alerte (96.8%)
    4) Guliyev (96.6%)
    5) Edward (96.6%)
    6) Bolt (96.5%)
    7) Mullings (96.0%)
    8) Spearmon (95.5%)

    (cont)
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    Re: 200 Meters and Speed Endurance: Number Crunching
    #2
    Some of the PRs I found probably were not accurate in 2009; I truly doubt Crawford was in 9.88 shape at that point - making his 10.15 opening split even more aggressive. Clark, on the other hand, was clearly faster than the 10.47 (+1.9) he ran in 2005.

    Most of the rest of the guys fall very close to each other, with Spearmon being something of an outlier on the low end. He's holding back quite a bit.

    The Holy Grail:

    Johnson's 19.32 was so revered that many believed it would never be broken in their great-great-great-great-great grandchildrens' lifetimes. How do his splits look compared to the 2009 runners?

    Pretty good.
    http://myweb.lmu.edu/jmureika/track/splits/mj200.html

    Johnson's 100-150 split was 4.467...or 97.4% of his 50-100 split. He then finished with a 4.654 split, or 93.5 of his 50-100 split.


    MJ managed these Spearmon-esque percentages with a decidedly un-Spearmon start, getting through 100 in 10.12. This makes his "aggressiveness" percentage a crazy 99.7% of his 10.09 (+2.0) PR.

    From that, I think we can surmise pretty confidently that MJ was comfortably a sub10 sprinter in 1996. Working backwards and multiplying that 10.12 by Crawford's superaggressive 97.3%, he's at 9.85...the actual 100 meter WR only a week before his run. If he was not a 9.85 runner, he was even more aggressive, making the 93.5% last 50 meters all the nuttier.


    Summary

    Bolt slowed down from his top speed at a rate that falls in the middle of the group he was running against. Against this field, his speed endurance was average. The only way he would not have broken 19.32 is if his speed endurance was as bad as the worst of this group. I have a really hard time swallowing the "his 400 background is why he's so good at the 200" line after this. His 200 WR is primarily a product of the fact that he was slowing down from an extremely high top speed.


    People say "Well, if Wallace Spearmon could start faster, he'd be INCREDIBLE in the 200!!!" but, after reviewing the data, I think Wallace's laggardly starts represents a conscious tactical decision to conserve energy - and it works. He's slowing down less than Michael Johnson, the benchmark in the event. If he got more aggressive in his opening 100, he'd have less juice at the end...his 19.6x PR is actually quite impressive for someone with a 9.96 100 PR.

    Johnson is extremely impressive still. He took off on a pace that was blistering and held it at a level reserved for guys who are consciously holding back in the opening 100.

    Thoughts?
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    Re: 200 Meters and Speed Endurance: Number Crunching
    #3
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    Nicely done
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    Re: 200 Meters and Speed Endurance: Number Crunching
    #4
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    Yes. Interesting -- thanks!
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    Re: 200 Meters and Speed Endurance: Number Crunching
    #5
    Hard to look at Bolt's time and think that is all he had in him though. His two fastest times are after setting Olympic records in the 100m and running rounds of both the 100m and 200m shortly before. Surely, if he had focused only on the 200m when in peak condition, he would've run faster than focusing on the double and running all the rounds required.
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    Re: 200 Meters and Speed Endurance: Number Crunching
    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by dustoff
    Hard to look at Bolt's time and think that is all he had in him though. His two fastest times are after setting Olympic records in the 100m and running rounds of both the 100m and 200m shortly before. Surely, if he had focused only on the 200m when in peak condition, he would've run faster than focusing on the double and running all the rounds required.
    Assumption.

    The only race he ran full out in Beijing was the 200m final. All others he eased up in and can be considered tune ups.

    Berlin can be considered all tune ups as well aside from the 100m final (which he arguably was not all out in)
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    Re: 200 Meters and Speed Endurance: Number Crunching
    #7
    spearmon showing "speed" endurance in the straight may indicate sub-par curve running ability. and that if this guy was more efficient running the curve, he'd be a couple of 10ths faster while showing less "speed endurance"?

    just sayin.

    but i vote against the above conjecture and think spearmon is indeed a sprint endurance guy, that is super octane as opposed to the 4, where there is an aerobic component the figures in the last 120 meters.... which is the beginning of middle distances.

    pretty much every body in a great classic race is running that last 20m on fumes at the same pace, from 400m thru 10k. like 12-13 seconds per 100m pace.
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    Re: 200 Meters and Speed Endurance: Number Crunching
    #8
    That would be interesting to see, gibson. I know very little about most running events over 400 meters...how fast is a 5000 guy finishing relative to his top speed compared to a 1500 guy or a steeplechase guy?

    The race:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51vHWCIT5JQ

    I also don't want to give the impression that I'm claiming that speed endurance doesn't matter or anything crazy like that. I've seen mid-10 guys run mid-22 in the 200 because they have NO speed endurance. At the elite level of the 2009 World Championships final, everyone had at least good speed endurance. But the winner did not have the best speed endurance, or really even close to it.
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    Re: 200 Meters and Speed Endurance: Number Crunching
    #9
    This thread got way technical for me but I appreciate someone taking the time to provide a layman like me with this rigorous insight. Can you do an Analysis for Allyson Felix? Why didnt she run faster than her 21.69 pb in London when she was clearly in the 100 form of her life. Also 2012 Sanya should have been running sub 49 as she was far and away in the best 200 form of her life and she herself said when her 200 is good her 400 becomes easier yet all she could manage was 49.28 which is not all that impressive when you consider some of her fastest times.
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    Re: 200 Meters and Speed Endurance: Number Crunching
    #10
    I'll see what I can do
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