How Long Can a Person Run at Full Speed (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 8 seconds

Running has always been considered to be one of the sports. Tournaments are conducted everywhere, starting from local festivals to Olympics. These days, running is also considered as an exercise. Usain Bolt is well-known as the fastest runner in the world with a record speed of 44.72 km/h. Sprinters can run faster in less time compared to common man as they practice daily. A common man can try to achieve the speed of sprinters but speed might not be as effective as sprinters.

How Long Can a Person Run At Full Speed?

A person’s speed is dependent on his/her physical fitness. Physical fitness decreases with age and accordingly speed of running decreases. 

Average speed and average time of running for a common man changes accordingly with age and sex. Table below mentions ranges of age and average time taken for both men and women in that respective age group to run a mile.

AgeMan (minutes per mile)Women (minutes per mile)
16-199:3412:09
20-249:3011:44
25-2910:0311:42
30-3410:0412:24
35-3910:5312:03
40-4410:2812:24
45-4910:5312:41
50-5411:0813:20
55-5912:0814:37
60-6413:0514:47
65-6913:5216:12

Inference from the table shows that women take more time compared to men.

Undoubtedly, age affects the speed at which a person can run, but there are other factors like body mass and height that affect speed. These factors affect the speed of sprinters and common people for men as well as women. A sprinter’s speed is higher compared to a common man. An elite sprinter can run at his/her maximum speed for 6 to 8 seconds. We see a sprinter getting slow at the end of a race as it is impossible to maintain the same effort and speed throughout the sprint. Nothing is different for sprinters, even sprinters’ speed of running decreases gradually as age increases. Sprinters try to maintain their speed in their 30’s (it is age). As age increases from thirties to forties, their maximum speed decreases gradually.

A sprinter’s speed is higher compared to a common man. An elite sprinter can run at his/her maximum speed for 6 to 8 seconds. We see a sprinter getting slow at the end of a race as it is impossible to maintain the same effort and speed throughout the sprint. Nothing is different for sprinters, even sprinters’ speed of running decreases gradually as age increases. Sprinters try to maintain their speed in their 30’s (it is age). As age increases from thirties to forties, their maximum speed decreases gradually. 

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Time taken by Men sprinters considering variety of factors:

AgeHeightWeightTime taken (minutes per mile)
221.88879.77
241.76809.79
271.78739.78
181.83859.97
301.77739.93

Time taken by Women sprinters considering variety of factors:

AgeHeightWeightTime taken (minutes per mile)
221.807010.65
201.686111.00
261.706410.91
331.7063.510.86

Though its is same that men can run faster than women, considering remaining factors are also affecting the speed.

Why Does it Take That Long For a Person to Run At Full Speed?

According to the reports, mechanical output during the exercise is higher for men even when the fat-free mass of the whole body is equivalized.  In sprint running, the centre of mass (COM) is accelerated during the early part of the race, but changes gradually after reaching 40 to 60 m. For each step a sprinter takes, the centre of mass changes both horizontally and vertically and hence makes it difficult for him/her to maintain the same speed all through the sprint. 

According to Newton’s second law, acceleration is directly proportional to the force applied but is inversely proportional to mass of a body. This is applicable for common man and sprinters as well. 

There are some biological changes that happen in the body after a long run like running out of breath, cramps and nausea in the abdomen. This might be caused due to improper hydration. These changes can be taken care of by following proper hydration before and during a run. On the other hand, excessive hydration makes cramps and digestive irritation worse. 

Conclusion

A question can be answered in many ways. Similarly, how long a person can run at full speed might depend on age or height or weight. The maximum speed of a runner and how long he or she can maintain maximum speed can not be determined based on one factor alone. It varies from person to person.  It also differs for daily runners like sprinters and occasional runners like common man.

References

  1. https://academic.oup.com/restud/article-abstract/67/1/17/1576224
  2. https://heart.bmj.com/content/99/8/516.short

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