Slip on a pair of running spikes and just like that you're running sub-four-minute-miles! Or so you wish. In reality though spikes can help a lot with runners who want to cut down on their time, spikes you physics to give an advantage to runners! That is why in this blog we will be examining the physics of running spikes.
Everyone knows the simple idea of friction, and that the more of it the less you slip! So having rubber socks you would slide much less than if you were in just some cotton ones because the cotton ones will slip! The same thing goes for running shoes! When you apply force to the ground with your foot you propel yourself forward, but what can happen is that instead of propelling yourself forward if the friction isn't good enough your shoe can actually slip backwards! This means that some of your energy you were using to propel yourself forward is lost as you slip backwards!
That is were spikes come in.
Spikes, instead of relying on friction to propel you forward, use bearing to do so! This means that that they are instead pushing off of a very narrow point instead of large area such as the bottom of a shoe would provide. This in turn is much more effective since less surface area means less slipping is apt to occur. When less slipping occurs all the energy can be focused into simply propelling you forward, making you a much more efficient and quicker runner!!!
So before attempting the one mile Olympic record, (3:46.91), make sure you get a great pair of spikes to propel you to the finish line!
Image from dailymail.com.uk