Usain Bolt: 41 Steps for 100 Meters

Usain Bolt 41 steps

Ok, so I am not Usain Bolt, and I never will be – I get it.

But I would like to be a faster runner.  As I wrote about previously, I have a goal to run a sub-60 second 400 meter dash.  And given that I am currently 45 years old, that would be a pretty big accomplishment, especially since I had NEVER run track until last summer.

Over the past 12 months I have focused my training on “getting faster.”  And to some degree, that effort has paid off.

Last year, I ran a personal best of 14.8 seconds for the 100, 30.6 seconds for the 200, and 75 seconds for the 400.  This year I ran 13.8 for the 100, 29.6 for the 200, and 69 for the 400.  Those are big improvements for sure, but still A LONG way to go on my goal for the 400.

So why compare myself to Usain Bolt?  Can I actually learn something by looking at what he is able to do?


Let me explain.

When Usain Bolt runs 100 meters in 9.63 seconds and 41 steps, he has an average stride rate of 255 strides per minute.  When I run 100 meters in 13.8 seconds and 57 steps, I have an average stride rate of 248 strides per minute.

Crap!  So it isn’t that Bolt moves his legs a lot faster than me.  No, the reason he is faster is because he is able to generate superhuman amounts of force during each foot strike.

Speed = Strength.  Wow it only took me a whole year to figure that out.

The good news is that I now know what I must improve on.  Time to increase the training volume.  Time to get stronger.  Time to go from 57 steps to 52.