Optimizing running a race on a curved track

Abstract : In order to determine the optimal strategy to run a race on a curved track according to the lane number, we introduce a model based on differential equations for the velocity, the propulsive force and the anaerobic energy which takes into account the centrifugal force. This allows us to analyze numerically the different strategies according to the types of track since different designs of tracks lead to straights of different lengths. In particular, we find that the tracks with shorter straights lead to better performances, while the double bend track with the longest straight leads to the worst performances and the biggest difference between lanes. Then for a race with two runners, we introduce a psychological interaction: there is an attraction to follow someone just ahead, but after being overtaken, there is a delay before any benefit from this interaction occurs. We provide numerical simulations in different cases. Overall, the results agree with the IAAF rules for lane draws in competition, where the highest ranked athletes get the center lanes, the next ones the outside lanes, while the lowest ranked athletes get the inside lanes.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, September 4, 2019 - 9:51:31 AM
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Amandine Aftalion, Pierre Martinon. Optimizing running a race on a curved track. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2019, 14 (9), pp.23. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0221572⟩. ⟨hal-01936993v2⟩

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